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Friday, March 31, 2006


Illegal Immigration: 10% of All U.S. Workers Given Slave Wages, Not Allowed To Vote, Destroying Social Services For Everyone (excerpts), Paul Krugman

Imagine, for a moment, a future in which America becomes like Kuwait or Dubai, a country where a large fraction of the work force consists of illegal immigrants or foreigners on temporary visas — and neither group has the right to vote. Surely this would be a betrayal of our democratic ideals, of government of the people, by the people. Moreover, a political system in which many workers don't count is likely to ignore workers' interests: it's likely to have a weak social safety net and to spend too little on services like health care and education. This isn't idle speculation. Countries with high immigration tend, other things equal, to have less generous welfare states than those with low immigration. U.S. cities with ethnically diverse populations — often the result of immigration — tend to have worse public services than those with more homogeneous populations.

Of course, America isn't Dubai. But we're moving in that direction. As of 2002, according to the Urban Institute, 14 percent of U.S. workers, and 20 percent of low-wage workers, were immigrants. Only a third of these immigrant workers were naturalized citizens. So we already have a large disenfranchised work force, and it's growing rapidly. The goal of immigration reform should be to reverse that trend. So what do I think of the Senate Judiciary Committee's proposal, which is derived from a plan sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy? I'm all in favor of one provision: offering those already here a possible route to permanent residency and citizenship. Since we aren't going to deport more than 10 million people, we need to integrate those people into our society.

But I'm puzzled by the plan to create a permanent guest-worker program, one that would admit 400,000 more workers a year (and you know that business interests would immediately start lobbying for an increase in that number). [Presently, many such jobs are being made semi-permanent through multiple time extensions.] Isn't institutionalizing a disenfranchised work force a big step away from democracy? For a hard-line economic conservative like Mr. McCain, the advantages to employers of a cheap work force may be more important than the violation of democratic principles. But why would someone like Mr. Kennedy go along? Is the point to help potential immigrants, or is it to buy support from business interests?...

--more

War Profiteer: Cheney and Halliburton: Top Earners In Iraq, Evelyn Pringle

There has never been an investigation into Cheney's involvement in awarding Halliburton no-bid contracts making the company the number one war profiteerer in Iraq. Apparently people have forgotten about the March 5, 2003 e-mail between the Army Corps of Engineers and a Pentagon employee that stated the contract "has been coordinated w VP's office."

People also seem to have forgotten that Cheney continues to own stock in Halliburton. Stock that has risen in leaps and bounds since its former CEO moved into the White House and developed the most prolific war profiteering scheme of all time.

A study released in June 2005, originating from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), revealed that overall, Halliburton had received roughly 52% of the $25.4 billion that has been paid out to private contractors since the war in Iraq began.

Halliburton was the top profiteer when it came to funds belonging to the citizens of Iraq as well.... --more

But, But, Sir ! "History has proven that democracies don't war." George W. Bush


Thursday, March 30, 2006


Illegal Immigration: Macro-View Economists Sound So Reasonable About Immigration, Jerry Politex

A story out of Knight Ridder's Washington bureau sounded very reasonable about the economic effects of immigration. "Immigration, legal or otherwise, offers the nation a net benefit; but it comes with strings," it was titled. And it is reasonable, but only if you look at big picture statistics and ignore the human picture. Here's the core of the piece, written by Kevin Hall:

"Harvard University economist George Borjas recently published a study on the economic effects of immigration. He thinks the costs and benefits are a wash. Small gains to the broader economy are offset by social and fiscal costs such as providing health care to poor immigrants and schooling children who don't speak English. "It would not be farfetched to say there would be zero gain from this," he said in an interview."

The specifics provided in the article indicate that employers of illegal immigrants profit most, while Americans, including legal immigrants, who earn fairer, larger wages in the marketplace, pay for the schooling and health care of illegal immigrants through taxes and cuts in their own social services.

"The latest Census Bureau data, which tracked employment of foreign-born Mexicans and Central Americans in 2004 - legal and undocumented - showed that 30 percent were in service jobs, the strongest sector of the U.S. economy. An additional 24 percent worked in production and transportation, 22 percent were in construction-related work and 12 percent had sales and office jobs. Only 3.7 percent worked in farming, though they made up 24 percent of farm workers. Although most economists see a small net benefit from immigration, they note that it isn't spread across the economy. Instead, illegal immigration drags down wages for those at the bottom," reporter Hall observes.

"Roger Faulkner, the owner of the Four Seasons Roofing Co. in Springfield, Mo., routinely finds his firm underbid by companies that rely on illegal immigrants who are paid less than his workers. 'They're always taking away work, and undercut everybody,' he complained. Faulkner said these companies bid 20 percent to 50 percent less on work and 'they take one market, then another, then another.'"

Hill provides statistics and opinion that suggests, with U.S. unemployment at a low 5%, with U.S. workers unwilling to work below the minimum wage or below market wage, and with U.S. consumers unwilling to pay more for the services provided by illegal immigrants, the problem lacks resolution. Interestingly, Hill never looks at the cause of the problem, those deadbeat, unscrupulous employers who personally benefit and depend upon the government to keep employees fit and educated enough to return to the workplace, day after day, and continue working for slave wages.

Opinion: The Democrats: Missing In Action, Ernest Partridge

Watching the Democrats, one would think that they never gave up believing in Santa Claus.

Like little kids in December, they seem to believe that just by being nice, Santa will deliver the gifts: election victories and control of the Congress.

The Republicans know better. They analyze, they scheme, they think things through, they act aggressively and ruthlessly, and thus they win.

Unfortunately, the Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And opportunities aplenty are coming their way which, for the most part, they simply ignore. For example, when one of their number, Senator Russ Feingold, speaks up with a loud and eloquent voice, he is told to shut up. Demanding censure of the outlaw President, he is told by his own party, is “not nice.”

One begins to wonder if the Democratic Party really wants to win in November. If they keep on behaving as they have, and if conditions remain essentially as they are now, they won’t win. The Republicans will have a lock on that election:

Provided conditions remain essentially as they are now.

Now the good news...

--more

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Inside Rove's Diary: Strangle That Censure Baby, Bernard Weiner

Sorry, diary, no time to jot, it's been a helluva few months here in the White House as one balloon after another has exploded in our faces. We just can't seem to tamp down the Iraq situation enough for us to slide by the November election. The goddamn ragheads can't even agree on a government months after their own balloting! And if scores more civilians and U.S. troops continue to get killed every day, it's not good news for us politically. All we need is a few months of relative calm and a government in place that will do what we tell them to -- for one, permitting our military bases to remain on their territory. But we may not get that.

But we'll use whatever comes along. If the Iraqis ask us to leave, we'll announce that we'll leave. However, we'll make the effective date after the election, and then things may change, ha ha. That hope that our troops might be leaving should garner us more support with our GOP base, at least enough to hold onto our majority in the House in the midterm election. That's all that matters right now. Then the Iraqis can go back to slaughtering each other, I don't care. The few American casualties are "the price a nation pays for the defense of freedom." Focus groups seem willing to buy that one, so that's our story and we're stickin' to it. We gotta hope it will balance out the "incompetence" albatross that's hanging around our necks.

The GOP base used to be monolithic in support of us. But now a good many are drifting away, having figured out that we don't really have a coherent plan for Iraq, and saying we're wasting our troops and treasure for no good purpose. (They sound like goddamned Cindy Sheehan!) What do they know? We do have a plan: It's called permanent war, permanent control, but we prefer not to talk about it. As for bankrupting the treasury, duh, that's the idea, stupids. How else can you get big government into the bathtub for lessons in drowning?... --more

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Illegal Immigration: Thom Hartman,Paul Krugman, and the Wal-Mart Way, Parts I and II, Jerry Politex

Part I: Both progressive icons Thom Hartman and Paul Krugman agree that the use of illegal aliens in our job market is a conservative attempt to destroy the middle class and what remains of the American union movement. While both believe that more should be done to limit the influx of future illegal aliens into the country, their is a basic difference between the two. Krugman stresses that we should support those illegal aliens who are already in the country and treat them as though they were legal immigrants: "Basic decency requires that we provide immigrants, once they're here, with essential health care, education for their children, and more." Hartman stresses that we should put pressure on employers not to hire illegal aliens: "If Congress were to pass a law that said, quite simply, that the CEO of any business that was caught employing illegal immigrants went to jail for a year - no exceptions - then within a month there would be ten million (more or less) people lined up at the Mexican border trying to get out of the United States." We're in agreement with Hartman, here.

We're also in agreement with Lou Dobbs, who believes, unlike, say, La Raza, the nation's largest pro-illegal immigration group that receives backing from corporations such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, that the first thing that we need to do is stop any more illegal aliens at the boarder, prior to addressing the status of those illegal aliens who are already in the country. Like Hartman, Dobbs says, "First we secure our borders. Then we create a rational and humane immigration policy." In Krugman's previous pieces on Wal-Mart, he stressed the injustice of having American citizens pay for Wal-mart's greed. Krugman reported that Wal-mart paid its employees so poorly that they had to take social services funds from the government in order to live. But that's exactly what he wants to happen with illegal immigrants. If it's wrong to allow Wal-mart to make a larger profit by depending upon the government to pick up the slack, it's wrong for employeers of illeghal aliens in this country to expect the same. Like Wal-Mart, U.S. empolyeers should be pressured to take financial responsibility for its employees.

Part II: But both history and present legislation proposed by those who demand amnesty for the illegal aliens indicate that's not going to happen. With respect to history, Rep. James Sensenbrenner recently said on Lou Dobbs, "It's appalling because the Senate Judiciary Committee is repeating the mistake that Congress made 20 years ago when it passed the Simpson- Mazzoli bill. The Simpson-Mazzoli bill granted amnesty to illegal aliens who were in the country at the time and also set up a system of employer sanctions to try to prevent employers from hiring any more illegal aliens. Well, the employer sanctions were never enforced. The amnesty was a big flop because people were afraid of losing their job. And instead of having two million illegal aliens, we have 10 to 12 million now.

Lou Dobbs holds out little hope that things are any different today. Addressing the Senate debate over illegal immigration, he said, " One of the things that's not being discussed here, even with what our so-called political leaders in Washington should have learned, is that there is not a plan in which -- if you were to provide amnesty for 11 to 20 million illegal aliens, there's not a single plan in place that would stop another 11 to 20 million illegal aliens from entering the country....Meanwhile, as usual, working men and women in this country at all ends of the wage scale are the ones paying the price, and of course their families.

What price is being paid? Here's a recent CNN news analysis: "According to the Pew Hispanic Center, more people are now coming here illegally than through legal channels. More than half enter without a high school education, and American public schools educate their children. The Federation for American Immigration Reform says taxpayers spend $12 billion a year on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally. Another $17 billion for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies. It is federal law to provide free emergency health care to those here illegally. Congress has set aside a billion taxpayer dollars each year to reimburse all hospitals. A total, administrators complain, is a fraction of their costs.

Meanwhile, employers hire cheap labor with virtually no risk. The Government Accountability Office found only three employers fined in 2004 for illegal hiring, down from 417 in 1999. At the same time, America's criminal justice system is bulging with these citizens of other countries. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 30 percent of federal prisoners are not U.S. citizens. At a cost of $63 a day, taxpayers spend more than $3 million every day to house non-U.S. citizen dollars in our federal prisons. Most are thought to be illegal aliens.

Like both Krugman and Hartman, Dobbs notes that both Democrats and Republicans are behind the movement to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants. As he cautioned a guest the other day: "Explain to me something just as simple as [you] can, because what you're talking about are conservatives and liberals at the far end of this debate, both as liberals and conservatives, and frankly I think there is wrong-head at both ends because they merge on this. They're both owned by the corporate interests and the special interests in this country. The Democrats looking for votes. The Republicans looking to exploit cheap labor." As one union rep said, "We don't care about green cards. We care about union cards." But unions are anathema to employeers looking for cheap labor with few workers' rights attached, and previous immigrant legislation and what we know about the federal government's inability to actually carry out social reform holds out little hope that the generally-favored Specter bill, which addresses both amnesty and illegal immigrant prevention, would actually work.

The editors of the New York Times disagree: "The path to citizenship laid out by the Specter bill wouldn't be easy. It would take 11 years, a clean record, a steady job, payment of a $2,000 fine and back taxes, and knowledge of English and civics. That's not "amnesty," with its suggestion of getting something for nothing.... The bill does not ignore security and border enforcement. It would nearly double the number of Border Patrol agents, add resources for detaining illegal immigrants and deporting them more quickly, and expand state and local enforcement of immigration laws. It would create a system to verify workers' identities and impose tougher punishments on employers who defied it."

Sounds good, but let's begin with the "prevention" plan of the Specter bill that employs security, border enforcement, detention and deportation, local enforcement, id verification, and tougher punishment on employers, and see how that's working. Marks of progress along the way should be spelled out in advance, based on present data. As for the amnesty part of the program, whatever one wishes to call it, 11 years is too long to wait for feedback about the success rate, so marks of progress are needed along the line. How about specific yearly rewards and penalties, with a strict accounting provided by agencies within the system, such as schools. Otherwise, as in the past, the plan will be a political joke with no teeth.

The same goes with an additional plan, Bush's guest worker proposal, designed to head off, one imagines, future illegal immigrants. CNN Correspondent Bill Tucker begins his report with a lie by Bush:

BUSH: This program would provide a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do.

TUCKER: What the president doesn't say is that existing guest worker programs known more commonly as work visas don't work, except for employers looking for cheap labor.

MARK KRIKORIAN, CTR. FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: Because they get a larger pool of workers fighting for their jobs. Why would you not want guest workers if you were an employer? But the fact is that it represents a kind of subsidy by the government to employers. It's subsidizing their labor cost.

TUCKER: A government report on the L-1 Visa Program reached this disturbing conclusion: "While many of the claims that appear in the media about L-1 workers displacing American workers and testimony may have merit, they do not seem to represent a significant national trend." Which is Washington speak for, we don't track the numbers, so we're not sure. But the impact is perfectly clear to some.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: There's no limit under the L-1 program. And so, consequently, there's really no review of it. There's no limit to what it can be done. There's even no question that it could replace an American worker.

TUCKER: A separate study on another temporary worker program found that H1B visa workers are paid $13,000 less than American workers doing the same work. The message from Washington is obvious.

REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: We have our first obligation to American workers. And we're not living up to that obligation.

In the final analysis, it's a matter of to whom we feel the greatest obligation, those American citizens who play by the rules and believe that American workers should be paid a fair wage, including fair benefits and rights, or illegal non-citizens who are allowed to come into our country by a compromised government in the thrall of business interests out to make a buck, give as little as possible back into the system, and expect the government to clean up the social mess. A letter to Dobbs from Karen in Texas puts it succinctly:

"I live in San Antonio. I'm so tired of paying the highest auto insurance premiums, health insurance premiums and property taxes due to the fact that so many of these immigrants don't have insurance. And our schools must provide bilingual education for our kids. I'm also sick of the demand that our principals speak Spanish so they can communicate with the parents that haven't made the effort to learn English. I'm not against immigration and I am not a racist. I'm against illegal immigration and the exploitation of labor at my expense. I sincerely hope this insanity comes to an end."

Speaking of racisim, Dobbs recently recalled Cesar Chavez: "Cesar Chavez Day by the way...a man who fought fiercely for the rights of migrant workers and Hispanics in this country and who objected to illegal immigration with all of his heart and all of his energy, because he understood that the people who would be most victimized by it would be the very people he sought to help and that is the Hispanic community."

Readings:

Paul Krugman, "North of the Border" (New York Times) http://select.nytimes.com/2006/03/27/opinion/27krugman.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20Op%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists%2fPaul%20Krugman

Thom Hartman, "Illegal Workers: the Con's Secret Weapon" (Common Dreams) http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0308-20.htm

New York Times Editorial, "It Ismn't Amnesty" http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/29/opinion/29wed1.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

"Lou Dobbs Tonight" (transcript) March 27 http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0603/27/ldt.01.html

"Lou Dobbs Tonight" (transcript) March 28 http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0603/28/ldt.01.html

Illegal Immigration: Illegal Workers: the Conservatives' Secret Weapon, Thom Hartman

Conservatives are all atwitter about illegal immigrants.... But none will tell Americans the truth about why we have eleven million illegal aliens in this nation now (when it was fewer than 2 million when Reagan came into office), why they're staying, or why they keep coming. In a word, it's "jobs." In conservative lexicon, it's "cheap labor to increase corporate profits." Recently George W. Bush insulted working Americans by saying that we need eleven million illegal immigrants here in the United States because (in a slightly cleaned-up version of the more blatantly racist comments of Vicente Fox) there are some jobs that "American's won't do."... It's really all about breaking the back of the most democratic (and Democratic) of American institutions - the American middle class. One of the tools conservatives have used very successfully over the past 25 years to drive down wages, bust unions, and increase CEO salaries has been to encourage illegal immigrant labor in the US. Their technique is transparently simple. Conservatives well understand supply and demand. If there's more of something, its price goes down. If it becomes scarce, its price goes up....

While the history of much of the progressive movement in the United States has been to control the supply of labor (mostly through pushing for maximum-hour, right-to-strike, and child-labor laws) to thus be able to bargain decent wages for working people, the history of conservative America has, from its earliest days grounded in slavery and indentured workers from Europe, been to increase the supply of labor and drive down its cost. In the 1980s, for example, the increasing supply of labor (both from Reagan-allowed consolidations eliminating redundant jobs, and from illegal immigration, which was around 3 million illegals by the time Reagan left office) fed massive union-busting in industry sectors from those directly hit with illegal immigrant labor (like construction and agriculture) to those who only felt its fallout but nonetheless were pressed (like coal mining). In part, because of these national downward pressures on organized labor, the miners who died in the International Coal Group's Sago Mine didn't have union protection.

"Union free" is good for the CEOs and stockholders of giant corporations. Reagan helped make it possible by reducing enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust and similar acts, by making the Labor Department hostile to labor, and by thus producing an environment into which illegal immigrant labor could step. He busted PATCO and popularized anti-union rhetoric, at a time when union membership was one of the primary boundaries that keep illegal labor out of the marketplace. Today, this fundamental economic rule of labor supply and demand is most conspicuous in the conservative reluctance to stop illegal immigration into the United States. All those extra (illegal) workers, after all, drive up the supply - and thus drive down the cost - of labor. Even in areas where there are not high populations of illegal immigrants, their presence elsewhere in the American workforce drives down overall the cost of labor nationwide. And when the cost of labor goes down, there's more money left over for CEOs and stockholder dividends.

Conservatives believe that what John Adams called "the rabble" - you and me - can't really be trusted with governance, and therefore that job should be kept to an elite few. This is, at its core, why conservatives embrace the idea of eliminating the American middle class and replacing it with a Dickensian "working poor" class, and are working so hard to use illegal immigrant labor as the lever to bring this about.

This is why conservatives who complain about illegal immigration in front of the cameras won't lift a finger in the halls of congress to pass legislation that would put employers of illegals into jail. (They may support "tough fines," just so long as they're high enough to sound like a lot of money to the average working stiff but low enough to be a "cost of business" for a corporation that gets caught.) If Congress were to pass a law that said, quite simply, that the CEO of any business that was caught employing illegal immigrants went to jail for a year - no exceptions - then within a month there would be ten million (more or less) people lined up at the Mexican border trying to get out of the United States. The US unemployment rate would drop close to zero, and wages would begin to rise. The American middle class would begin to return to viability, as would the union movement in this nation. --more

Illegal Immigration: Evidence Does Not Support Bush Position On Illegal Aliens (excerpts), Paul Krugman

First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small. Realistic estimates suggest that immigration since 1980 has raised the total income of native-born Americans by no more than a fraction of 1 percent.

Second, while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration — especially immigration from Mexico. Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average U.S. worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst-paid Americans. The most authoritative recent study of this effect, by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, estimates that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren't for Mexican immigration.

That's why it's intellectually dishonest to say, as President Bush does, that immigrants do "jobs that Americans will not do." The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays — and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants.

Finally, modern America is a welfare state, even if our social safety net has more holes in it than it should — and low-skill immigrants threaten to unravel that safety net. Basic decency requires that we provide immigrants, once they're here, with essential health care, education for their children, and more. As the Swiss writer Max Frisch wrote about his own country's experience with immigration, "We wanted a labor force, but human beings came." Unfortunately, low-skill immigrants don't pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the benefits they receive. Worse yet, immigration penalizes governments that act humanely. Immigrants are a much more serious fiscal problem in California than in Texas, which treats the poor and unlucky harshly, regardless of where they were born....

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush's plan for a "guest worker" program is clearly designed by and for corporate interests, who'd love to have a low-wage work force that couldn't vote. Not only is it deeply un-American; it does nothing to reduce the adverse effect of immigration on wages. And because guest workers would face the prospect of deportation after a few years, they would have no incentive to become integrated into our society. What about a guest-worker program that includes a clearer route to citizenship? I'd still be careful. Whatever the bill's intentions, it could all too easily end up having the same effect as the Bush plan in practice — that is, it could create a permanent underclass of disenfranchised workers. --more

Big Bush Lies: Brit Official Memo Has Bush Proposing A Lie To Get Us Into War If there's anyone left in this country who does not believe that George W. Bush is a world class liar of the first magnitude, Andrea Mitchell's report of a recent Brit memo on Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) this evening should relieve them of that fantasy. Mitchell reminds us that the memo reported that at a meeting between Bush and Blair prior to the invasion of Iraq, Bush proposed that an American airplan be painted to look like a U.N. plane, then flown over Iraq in hopes that Saddam would shoot at it, thereby giving the U.S. an excuse to attack Iraq. --Jerry Politex, March 27, 2006


Monday, March 27, 2006


America In Decline: Review: How The Neocons Steered Bush Wrong (excerpts), Paul Berman

[Ex-Neocon Francis] Fukuyama offers a thumbnail sketch of neoconservatism and its origins, back to the anti-Communist left at City College in the 1930's and 40's and to the conservative philosophers (Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom, Albert Wohlstetter) at the University of Chicago in later years. From these disparate origins, the neoconservatives eventually generated "a set of coherent principles," which, taken together, ended up defining their impulse in foreign affairs during the last quarter-century. They upheld a belief that democratic states are by nature friendly and unthreatening, and therefore America ought to go around the world promoting democracy and human rights wherever possible. They believed that American power can serve moral purposes. They doubted the usefulness of international law and institutions. And they were skeptical about what is called "social engineering" — about big government and its ability to generate positive social changes.

Fukuyama notes that during the 1990's the neoconservatives veered in militarist directions, which strikes him as a mistake. A less sympathetic observer might recall that neoconservative foreign policy thinking has all along indulged a romance of the ruthless — an expectation that small numbers of people might be able to play a decisive role in world events, if only their ferocity could be unleashed. It was a romance of the ruthless that led some of the early generation of neoconservatives in the 1970's to champion the grisliest of anti-Communist guerrillas in Angola; and, during the next decade, led the neoconservatives to champion some not very attractive anti-Communist guerrillas in Central America, too; and led the Reagan administration's neoconservatives into the swamps of the Iran-contra scandal in order to go on championing their guerrillas. Doesn't this same impulse shed a light on the baffling question of how the Bush administration of our own time could have managed to yoke together a stirring democratic oratory with a series of grotesque scandals involving American torture — this very weird and self-defeating combination of idealism and brass knuckles? But Fukuyama must not agree.

...The criticisms he does propose are pretty scathing. In 2002, Fukuyama came to the conclusion that invading Iraq was going to be a gamble with unacceptably long odds. Then he watched with dismay as the administration adopted one strange policy after another that was bound to make the odds still longer. The White House decided to ignore any useful lessons the Clinton administration might have learned in Bosnia and Kosovo, on the grounds that whatever Bill Clinton did — for example, conduct a successful intervention — George W. Bush wanted to do the opposite. There was the diplomatic folly of announcing an intention to dominate the globe, and so forth — all of which leads Fukuyama, scratching his head, to propose a psychological explanation. The neoconservatives, he suggests, are people who, having witnessed the collapse of Communism long ago, ought to look back on those gigantic events as a one-in-a-zillion lucky break, like winning the lottery. Instead, the neoconservatives, victims of their own success, came to believe that Communism's implosion reflected the deepest laws of history, which were operating in their own and America's favor — a formula for hubris. This is a shrewd observation...

--more

America In Decline: Review: How Hubris, Greed, and Religious Fanaticism Has Begun Our Decline(excerpts), Michiko Kakutani

Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist who helped design that party's Southern strategy, made his name with his 1969 book, "The Emerging Republican Majority," which predicted the coming ascendancy of the G.O.P. In the decades since, Mr. Phillips has become a populist social critic, and his last two major books — "Wealth and Democracy" (2002) and "American Dynasty" (2004) — were furious jeremiads against the financial excesses of the 1990's and what he portrayed as the Bush family's "blatant business cronyism," with ties to big oil, big corporations and the military-industrial complex.

His latest book, "American Theocracy," the concluding volume of this "trilogy of indictments," ranges far beyond the subject suggested by its title — an examination of the religious right and its influence on the current administration — to anatomize a host of economic, political, military and social developments that Mr. Phillips sees as troubling indices of the United States' coming decline. The book not only reiterates observations made in "Wealth and Democracy" and "American Dynasty," but also reworks some of the arguments made by the historian Paul Kennedy in "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers," dealing with the role that economic factors play in the fortunes of great powers and the dangers empires face in becoming financially and militarily overextended....

As he's done in so many of his earlier books, Mr. Phillips draws a lot of detailed analogies in these pages, using demographics, economic statistics and broader cultural trends to map macropatterns throughout history. In analyzing the fates of Rome, Hapsburg Spain, the Dutch Republic, Britain and the United States, he comes up with five symptoms of "a power already at its peak and starting to decline": 1) "widespread public concern over cultural and economic decay," along with social polarization and a widening gap between rich and poor; 2) "growing religious fervor" manifested in a close state-church relationship and escalating missionary zeal; 3) "a rising commitment to faith as opposed to reason and a corollary downplaying of science"; 4) "considerable popular anticipation of a millennial time frame" and 5) "hubris-driven national strategic and military overreach" in pursuit of "abstract international missions that the nation can no longer afford, economically or politically." Added to these symptoms, he writes, is a sixth one, almost too obvious to state: high debt, which can become "crippling in its own right."

Mr. Phillips methodically proceeds to show how each of these symptoms applied to great powers like the Dutch Republic and the British empire in the past, and how they apply to the United States today. He reviews how deregulation, the implosion of American manufacturing, the rising cost of oil imports and substantial tax cuts have contributed to skyrocketing debt levels and trade deficits, and how the country's net international indebtedness has soared, he estimates, into the $4 trillion range.

--more

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Sunday, March 26, 2006


Referendum: Bush and the 2006 Elections, Gerald Rellick

In a recent press conference George Bush said that it would be up to future presidents to decide the future of the Iraq catastrophe. According to Bush, military operations in Iraq will continue throughout his presidency. Which is to say that George Bush knowingly recognizes the Iraq war is his legacy. In spite of his demonstrated incompetence in a range of domestic issues—Social security, environmental protection, the Medicare drug prescription drug program and the Hurricane Katrina disaster--- it is the Iraq war on which George W. Bush will die historically. And historical death seems certain. Conclusion: The worst president in the history of the United States of America.

But Bush is tenacious. He will not admit defeat, although one very prominent and leading conservative, William F. Buckley, Jr. has asked President Bush to do just this -- admit defeat. Says Buckley, “One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed…. Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.” But with his life and legacy on the line, will George Bush admit defeat In Iraq? The answer is never. He, and his despicable culprit in crimes against humanity, Dick Cheney, have invested too much of themselves in this horrific disaster to back down now. For them there is no turning back. It’s human nature.

Regrettably, it’s up to Congress to take first action—that pathetic and weakling body that has caved in to every Bush wish. But failing Congressional action, which we all expect, the real power lies in the American people, whose sense of decency, justice and human dignity can in the end triumph over this horrific Bush administration travesty. Never forget that the president serves at the will of the American people. We live in a democracy. The president is not king or monarch. He answers to you and me. In November we will have the chance to cast our ballots, our only real democratic exercise. This election must not be about local issues. There is too much in at stake for the future of the world. This must be a referendum on the presidency of George W. Bush.

"The Israel Lobby": Wall St. Journal Editor Accuses, In Effect, Haaretz Editors Of "anti-Semitic in effect" Editorial

"I do not mean to suggest that Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt [authors of "The Israel Lobby"] are themselves anti-Semitic. But as outgoing Harvard Prsident Larry Summers once noted, what may not be anti-Semitic in intent may yet be anti-Semetic in effect. By giving aid and comfort to people who have no trouble substituting the word "Jews" for "Israel Lobby," the Mearsheimer-Walt article is anti-Semetic in effect." --"The Israel Conspiracy", by Bret Stephens, March 25, 2006, WSJ

"Instead of strengthening the Jewish and Israeli lobby and causing it to influence American policymakers to support Israel unreservedly, the Israeli government must understand that the world will not wait forever for Israel to withdraw from the territories, and that the opinions expressed in ["The Israel Lobby"] could take root in American politics if Israel does not change the political reality quickly....The Jewish and Israeli lobby in America would do well to begin explaining the next withdrawal now, after years in which they primarily tried to win support for a continuation of the occupation and the settlement enterprise. Perhaps then it will be easier to explain Israeli policy and consolidate the true American and Israeli interests. The professors' article does not deserve condemnation; rather, it should serve as a warning sign.--"A Warning From America", by Haaretz Editorial, March 23, 2006

Toon Time: Sunday Funnies,Bell, Tomorrow, etc.

Feingold's Poker Politics: Call Their Bluff You Pussies! (By Ward Sutton)
Terrorist-Lovers: Preventing Conservatives From Growing Up (By Tom Tomorrow)
"Wag the Dog, Part II" (By Steve Bell)
Watch the Republicans Do the Bush Bash! With friends like these who needs Democrats? (By Mark Fiore)

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Saturday, March 25, 2006


Big Bush Lies: Treasury Sec. "Spout's Propaganda" About State Of Economy (excerpts), Paul Krugman

[The] surge in inequality explains why, despite [Treasury Sec. Snow's] best efforts to talk up the economic numbers, most Americans are unhappy with the Bush economy. I find it helpful to illustrate what's going on with a hypothetical example: say 10 middle-class guys are sitting in a bar. Then the richest guy leaves, and Bill Gates walks in. Because the richest guy in the bar is now much richer than before, the average income in the bar soars. But the income of the nine men who aren't Bill Gates hasn't increased, and no amount of repeating "But average income is up!" will convince them that they're better off. Now think about what happened in 2004 (the figures for 2005 aren't in yet, but it was almost certainly more of the same). The economy grew reasonably fast in 2004, but most families saw little if any improvement in their financial situation. Instead, a small fraction of the population got much, much richer. For example, Forbes tells us that the compensation of chief executives at the 500 largest corporations rose 54 percent in 2004. In effect, Bill Gates walked into the bar. Average income rose, but only because of rising incomes at the top....

Finally, [Snow] should stop denying that the Bush tax cuts favor the wealthy. I know that administration number-crunchers have produced calculations purporting to show that the tax cuts were tilted toward the middle class. But using the right measure — the effect of the tax cuts on after-tax income — the bias toward the haves and have-mores is unmistakable. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, once the Bush tax cuts are fully phased in, they will raise the after-tax income of middle-income families by 2.3 percent. But they will raise the after-tax income of people like [Sec. Snow], with incomes of more than $1 million, by 7.3 percent.

And those calculations don't take into account the indirect effects of tax cuts. If the tax cuts are made permanent, they'll eventually have to be offset by large spending cuts. In practical terms, that means cuts where the money is: in Social Security and Medicare benefits. Since middle-income Americans will feel the brunt of these cuts, yet received a relatively small tax break, they'll end up worse off. But the wealthy will be left considerably wealthier.

--more

Iraq: A Letter to Rush Limbaugh, Walter C. Uhler

While discussing charges -- on your nationally syndicated radio show of March 14, 2006 -- that President Bush is a "liar" and that the war in Iraq is "unjust," you wondered aloud: "How many Iraqi women and children have been killed by insurgents who have been emboldened by the American left?" Moments later you asked: "What do you think this is doing for the morale of these insurgents who are probably in their last gasp over there or close to it?"...

I was especially offended to learn that you delimited patriotic criticism of our immoral, illegal and incompetently planned invasion/occupation of Iraq to "emboldening" Iraq's insurgents. Besides indicating flaccid thinking in the service of bias, such tunnel vision smacks of McCarthyism.... --more

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Friday, March 24, 2006


Letters: Report The Truth About Iraq, by George

Every day on the TV I hear how bad things are because of President Bush. I think most of my friends claim all of the world's problems start and end with Mr Bush. Last Sunday on TV at the same time on two different channels was a demonstration of this. Cheney on one channel trying to say good things are happening and a Democratic Senator on the other telling the world just how bad things are, and we should get out of Iraq and we have done nothing but cause hate.

I get a lot of Email Like the one I am enclosing telling a different story. It seems to me that Bush should get a bunch of these people who have seen the good...and maybe even those who have movies showing what is realy happening in the world....CBS and NBC show only what the gods of the media tell them to show. Buy some air time. The country hates Bush because they do not get the real picture. (OR MAYBE I DON'T) They had rather listen to Ted Kennedy and his bunch than to hear the truth....If something drastic like publishing the truth is not done soon, the Democrats will take over like nothing you have seen and a Kerry look alike will pull out all the troups in a month and the war will be over. Then the terrorist will take ove quicker than you can say "Kiss my Grits".

***

Thanks for your comments, George, along with the article by Ralph Peters, writing from Baghdad. At least you didn't write that reporting bad news from Iraq was helping terrorists' goals, as George Bush said yesterday at his press conference. Is your letter a kind of grass roots follow-up to the press conference? I know that the cable news shows have been covering the subject with in-depth interviews all day. Frankly, it feels like a propaganda blitz.

You write, " The country hates Bush because they do not get the real picture," and "If something drastic like publishing the truth is not done soon, the Democrats will take over like nothing you have seen." You suggest that the truth will be told by people who are on the ground in Iraq, such as Peters. Based on his travels through Baghdad under the protection of an armed convoy of U.S. soldiers, "riding with the 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division," Peters observes the daily life of the city and writes:

"So why were we told that Iraq was irreversibly in the throes of civil war when it wasn't remotely true? I think the answers are straightforward. First, of course, some parties in the West are anxious to believe the worst about Iraq. They've staked their reputations on Iraq's failure. But there's no way we can let irresponsible journalists off the hook -- or their parent organizations. Many journalists are, indeed, brave and conscientious; yet some in Baghdad -- working for "prestigious" publications -- aren't out on the city streets the way they pretend to be. They're safe in their enclaves, protected by hired guns, complaining that it's too dangerous out on the streets. They're only in Baghdad for the byline, and they might as well let their Iraqi employees phone it in to the States. Whenever you see a column filed from Baghdad by a semi-celeb journalist with a "contribution" by a local Iraqi, it means this: The Iraqi went out and got the story, while the journalist stayed in his or her room. And the Iraqi stringers have cracked the code: The Americans don't pay for good news. So they exaggerate the bad."

Although you failed to identify the source of the story, George, it turns out that it was published in The New York Post, where Peters is a columnist, and prior to that he was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army with the rank of Lt. Colonel. I mention this because it suggests that, like those unidentified journalists he describes, he comes with baggage that some might consider to be a bias, particularly since we're reading reports that the U.S. government is still paying people to write "good news" stories about the present situation in Iraq. In short, George, it appears that in this case truth is in the eye of the beholder. --Jerry Politex

Note: For an alternate view of the plight of reporters in Baghdad, click on the photo of NBC's David Gregory at the top of the home page at Bush Watch. For an alternate view of the specifics of Peters' Iraq writing, go here. For an alternate view of how Iraq news is slanted in the U.S. press, go here.

Zero Unemployment: Uncle Rummy Says "Get A Life," (excerpts) Maureen Dowd

Rummy told reporters last week that the military was preparing for a civil war in Iraq, but he did not consider it a civil war yet — even though he acknowledged it was hard to tell exactly when chaos tipped into civil war. "I don't think it'll look like the United States' Civil War," he added sanguinely. Yeah. At Fort Sumter, Lincoln let the enemy fire first. So the defense secretary believes if the body count stays below the Civil War era's 600,000, Iraq will achieve a healthy blue-state, red-state democracy?

One administration official says that Rummy does not hold the same sway in meetings anymore, that he's treated as an eccentric old uncle who pops off and is ignored. But why can't W. just quit him? Instead, the president praised him for doing "a fine job" on two wars and transforming the military, when Rummy actually bullied the military to go along with his foolish schemes in Iraq and has sapped the once-feared fighting machine. [The day after this paragraph was published, a reporter read its first sentence to Rummy during a press conference, and Rummy responded, "If you believe everything you read in Maureen Dowd, you better get a life."]

... At his impromptu press conference yesterday, the president presented himself as a nice guy doing a difficult job, relentlessly joshing with reporters. He chided the press for playing into terrorists' goals by showing bad news from Iraq — "they're capable of blowing up innocent life so it ends up on your TV show" — even as reports surfaced about insurgents outside Baghdad storming a jail, slaughtering 18 police officers and letting the prisoners out, following fast upon an insurgent raid on Iraqi Army headquarters in Kirkuk. Does the president think TV will instead report on an increase in melon sales at the market?...

Of all the through-the-looking-glass moments in the last few days, the strangest is this: The F.B.I officer who arrested and questioned Zacarias Moussaoui told a jury that he had alerted his superiors about 70 times that Mr. Moussaoui was a radical Islamic fundamentalist who hated America and might be plotting to hijack an airplane.... He named two of the officials who did not want to endanger their careers with any excess aggression toward radical fundamentalists: David Frasca and Michael Maltbie, then working on the Radical Fundamentalist Unit. Even though Condi Rice told the 9/11 commission that "no one could have imagined" terrorists' slamming a plane into the World Trade Center, an F.B.I. officer did. Officer Samit testified that a colleague, Greg Jones, tried to light a fire under Mr. Maltbie by urging him to "prevent Zacarias Moussaoui from flying a plane into the World Trade Center

How can Mr. Maltbie and Mr. Frasca still be employed at the F.B.I.? How can Michael Chertoff still be employed at Homeland Security? How can Donald Rumsfeld still be employed at the Pentagon? --more

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Thursday, March 23, 2006


"The Israel Lobby": "Blame the Jews," Ed Lasky

John Mearsheimer, co-author of the research paper from which Harvard has removed the Kennedy School logo in apparent embarrassment, is now blaming the power of the Israel lobby for his failure to get it published in America....Hmm… I think Hitler blamed his failures to be a succesful artist on Jews, no? Germany’s loss in WW I:the Jews caused that defeat, too, right? --more

Bibliography: Responses To "The Israel Lobby" To Date, Christine Tomlinson

pro:

The single biggest threat to the world Uruk Net - Xymphora

Iran vs. USA Uruk Net

Iran vs. USA: New Research Paper by Two Distinguished Professors ... The People's Voice, TN (reprint from Uruk Net)

It’s Pro-Israel Lobby not America’s national interest Aljazeera.com, UK

The War Party in Disarray Antiwar.com

THE WAR PARTY Ether Zone (reprint of Antiwar.com editorial)

THE LOBBY WHY IS US POLICY SKEWED IN FAVOR OF ISRAEL? Ether Zone (reprint of Antiwar.com editorial)

Let war not be the rite of this spring Payvand, Iran (mentions report in passing)

New Harvard Report; A Real Breakthrough In The Battle For The ... Indymedia Argentina, Argentina 

The 10,000-Pound Elephant Revisited Arab News, Saudi Arabia

How the Israel Lobby Manipulates US Foreign Policy Al-Jazeerah.info

Profs Document Hijacking of US Foreign Policy uruknet.info, Italy

Is the US Waking up? Zaman Online

Study blasts US pro-Israel lobby Asia Times

It's the media, stupid Asia Times

Profs Document Hijacking of U.S. Foreign Policy Uruk Net

A silent, crippling fear Infoshop News

Israel Lobby Paper Proving Itself True KABOBfest, DC

Israel, al Qaeda and Iran Scoop.co.nz, New Zealand

It’s the Media, stupid Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates

neutral:

A warning from America Haaretz

Study alleges US sets aside own security interest for Israel's Christian Science Monitor

Pro-Israel lobby in US under attack. UPI

Pro-Israel lobby in US under attack.  Monsters and Critics (reprint of UPI report)

Pro-Israel Lobby in US Under Attack Palestine Chronicle (reprint of UPI report)

Pro-Israel Lobby in US Under Attack International Middle East Media Center (reprint of UPI report)

Pro-Israel lobby in US under attack Mathaba.Net, UK (reprint of UPI report)

Pro-Israel Lobby in US Under Attack Alarab online, UK (reprint of UPI report) 

Dean Attacks ‘Israel Lobby’ Harvard Crimson - includes responses by Dershowitz

A great debate American Thinker (short note on tenative debate between Dershowitz and Mearsheimer/Walt)

Israel Lobby Dictates US Policy, Study Charges Inter Press Service (subscription), Italy

Study: US Middle East policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby Haaretz

Study: US Mideast policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby Haaretz (update of previous)

Study: US Mideast Policy Motivated by Pro-Israel Lobby Uruk Net (reprint from Haaretz)

Study: US Middle East policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby SF.Indymedia.org, CA (reprint from Haaretz)

Study: US Mideast Policy Motivated by Pro-Israel Lobby Palestine Chronicle, WA (reprint from Haaretz)

KSG Seeks Distance from Paper Crimson

The protocols of Harvard and Chicago Haaretz

Israel ja USA:n ulkopolitiikka Tiede, Finland

A 'lite' plan for the enlightened voter Haaretz

Harvard to remove official seal from anti-AIPAC 'working paper' Haaretz

Kennedy School removes its logo from lobby 'study' Haaretz

So pro-Israel that it hurts Haaretz

Israel Lobby Dictates U.S. Policy, Study Charges Bellaciao, Italy

Harvard to remove official seal from anti-AIPAC ’working paper’ Judeoscope.ca, Canada

How Israel Controls What You Read TPMCafe, NY

con:

Ruth Wisse on the Israel Lobby Report Wall Street Journal

Distribute a news release with PR WSJ Opinion Journal 

Israel Lobby IsraPundit - reprint of Ruth Wisse from WSJ

Poisoned ivies Isra Pundit

Duke 1, Harvard 0 IsraPundit, Israel

Study Decrying “Israel Lobby” Marred by Numerous Errors: A ... CAMERA

David Duke and Harvard's New Protocols of the Learned Elders of ... Frontpage Magazine

UN SPRINGS INTO INACTION Frontpage Magazine

They too dare to speak out! Powerline Blog

The missing piece Powerline Blog

David Duke Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean New York Sun

Harvard's Paper on Israel Called 'Trash' By Solon New York Sun

Kalb Upbraids Harvard Dean Over Israel New York Sun

Discredited Dean New York Sun

Stephen Walt's War with Israel American Thinker

Harvard researchers attack close ties between the two nations Jerusalem Newswire, Israel

White supremacist, Muslim Brotherhood hail Harvard “study” on ... Judeoscope.ca, Canada

Harvard study: AIPAC makes US act against own interests Jerusalem Post, Israel

'AIPAC study is ignorant propaganda' Jerusalem Post, Israel

Harvard And Duke Harrisonburg Daily News Record, VA

Attack on 'Pro-Israel Lobby' Has Flaws NewsMax.com, FL

Harvard Removes Logo from controversial “Israel Lobby” Paper CAMERA

Harvard Faculty Finally Squabbles Over Something Other Than Larry ... Bostonist, MA

Harvard Report Blames ‘The Lobby’ For War New York Jewish Week

In Dark Times, Blame the Jews Forward, NY

Blame the Jews American Thinker

Professor Mearsheimer's first sip Power Line

Scholars' attack on pro-Israel lobby met with silence Forward

Professor Says American Publisher Turned Him Down Forward

A Harvard School Distances Itself from Dean's Paper New York Sun

The Belfer Declaration New York Sun

Harvard Report Blames 'The Lobby' For War The Jewish Week

A Footnote on Mr. Belfer Power Line

Column One: The Jewish threat Jerusalem Post

The Jewish threat - Israel Lobby IsraPundit

The Basis of the U.S.-Israel Alliance Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Israel

ZOA: Harvard Pseudo-Academic 'Working Paper' Attacking Israel Lobby Is Intellectually Dishonest And Anti-Semitic The Zionist Organization of America

A STUDY IN CRIMSON Powerline Blog

Explosive charge against Harvard/Chicago research paper American Thinker, AZ

Harvard's False Report FrontPage magazine.com, CA

Harvard's Paper on Israel Drew From Neo-Nazi Sites New York Sun

Freedman: A dangerously wrong study on the Israel lobby MetroWest Daily News, MA

Harvard hucksters hype Israeli pseudo-historians WorldNetDaily, OR

Walt’s Paper Trail Jewish Press, NY

US Officials, Academics Slam Harvard Report’s Claims Israel Lobby Controls US Foreign Policy Israel Hasbara Committee, NY


PARODY: WE'LL ALWAYS BE IN IRAQ

Withdrawal from Iraq "will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq." George W. Bush, press conference transcript, March 21, 2006

"We'll always be in Iraq,"
That's what George Bush has said,
"As long as I am President
And a soldier to be bled."

"We'll always be in Iraq,
Since profits are so sweet,
Wherever there's an oil pump
A million marching feet."

"Red, white and blue,
What does it mean to you?
Surely you're proud
Shout it aloud."

"'Mer'cans awake!
The Empire too,
We can depend on you,
Freedom remains
While you're in chains
Nothing can break."

"We'll always be in Iraq,
And nations shall be free,
That is, as much as my U.S.
And Iraq o'er the sea."

--author of "There Will Always Be An England" unknown, with changes by Jerry Politex, www.bushwatch.com

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006


"Israel Lobby": Study: U.S. Middle East policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby, Ha'aretz

The U.S. Middle East policy is not in America's national interest and is motivated primarily by the country's pro-Israel lobby, according to a study published Thursday by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Chicago. Observers in Washington said Thursday that the study was liable to stir up a tempest and spur renewed debate about the function of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby. The Fatah office in Washington distributed the article to an extensive mailing list. "No lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical," write the authors of the study. --more

"Israel Lobby": Pro-Israel lobby in U.S. under attack, UPI

Two of America's top scholars have published a searing attack on the role and power of Washington's pro-Israel lobby in a British journal, warning that its "decisive" role in fomenting the Iraq war is now being repeated with the threat of action against Iran. And they say that the Lobby is so strong that they doubt their article would be accepted in any U.S.-based publication.

They claim that the Israel lobby has distorted American policy and operates against American interests, that it has organized the funneling of more than $140 billion dollars to Israel and "has a stranglehold" on the U.S. Congress, and its ability to raise large campaign funds gives its vast influence over Republican and Democratic administrations, while its role in Washington think tanks on the Middle East dominates the policy debate.

And they say that the Lobby works ruthlessly to suppress questioning of its role, to blacken its critics and to crush serious debate about the wisdom of supporting Israel in U.S. public life. "Silencing skeptics by organizing blacklists and boycotts -- or by suggesting that critics are anti-Semites -- violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends," Walt and Mearsheimer write. --more

Anti-Semitism: Anti-Semitism From The Left, Bernard Weiner

Anti-Semitism on the Left is generally not spoken about, but it's real and appears to be growing. For those so inclined, it's easy to slip from denunciations of Israeli policy -- many of us on the Left are quite vocal in opposing Israeli policies and actions -- to out-and-out anti-Semitism.

It's often difficult to locate that fine line. Jew-haters often can hide their true feelings and arguments inside broadsides against Israeli policy, but those opposed vehemently to certain Israeli policies (and I count myself as one of that breed) are definitely not anti-Jewish in this context. So how to tell the difference?

Certainly, AIPAC (the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has no problem: Anybody writing anything in opposition to Israeli policies is all too-often smeared with the "anti-Semitic" or "Jew-hater" brush; if they happen to be Jewish, AIPAC types often throw the phrase "self-hating Jew" into the denunciation.

In my experience, in order to judge articles about Israelis and Jews somewhat accurately, you sort of have to follow a pundit's writings over time, and discern where the arguments are coming from and where they are going. --more

Anti-Semitism: 14 Understandings From The Weiner Essay On Anti-Semitism, Jerry Politex

1.Abhor generalized statements about any subgroup of people

2. Opposing Israeli policies and actions is not anti-Semitism

3. Smears of "anti-Semitism" are sometimes responses to such opposition

4. It's often difficult to locate that "fine line" between opposition to Israel and anti-Semitism

5. With respect to the "fine line," it's often helpful to look at a person's body of work.

6.Not all citizens of Israel are Jewish (20% are Arab)

7. Not all U.S. neoconservatives are Jewish

8. Anti-Semitism bursts out into the open now and again, usually in times of economic and psychological crisis

9. Scapegoats, often "Jews," "are required" in times of crisis

10. U.S. support of Israel, and vice versa, stirs up Anti-Jewish feelings around the world

11. "Anti-Semitism can be found where most of us live in alternative, progressive and even mainstream circles"

12. "The issue of anti-Jewish expression on the Left mostly does not make its way into liberal discourse"

13. "The anti-Semitism-on-the-Left issue cries out for more in-depth examination as to motive and intent"

14. Other groups in the world who are treated in a prejudicial manner, homosexuals, for example, "might be considered the new 'Jews'"

Press Conference: No End To U.S. Occupation Of Iraq Under Bush, He Says, Transcript

QUESTION: Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when; I'm not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?

BUSH: That, of course, is an objective. And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Iran: The Middle East Muddle: Is Peace Still Possible? Bernard Weiner

The run-up to the impending war against Iran -- and make no mistake, the foundations are being laid daily by the Bush Administration -- bears a remarkable resemblance to the propaganda barrage before the U.S. attacked Iraq: Iran is the repository of all things evil, they will destabilize the region if they get nukes, they support terrorists, the U.N. and international community can't wait until there are mushroom clouds in the sky, etc. etc. All that's missing is an invented tie-in with 9/11.

Because of the thorough botch the Bush Administration has made of the Iraq Occupation, and because there are no extra U.S. troops to go around, it's a reasonable presumption that there will be no ground invasion of Iran. Instead, following passage of some ambiguously-worded U.N. Security Council resolution, there might well be a U.S.-Israeli air-bombing/missile assault on that country's nuclear facilities. (The experts tell us that Iran won't have nuclear-weapons capability for anywhere from three to 10 years out -- in short, there is no imminent threat to the U.S. or anyone else.)

The reaction by Iran and other Islamic countries to such an air assault is likely to be intense, perhaps including retaliatory attacks on Israel, and damaging the American and European economies by withdrawing oil sales to the West or blocking ships from entering the Straits of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. And, of course, one can anticipate that the Bush Administration -- unless the impending attack can be stopped in its tracks by popular opposition -- will be caught flat-footed (again!) by its usual lack of planning for the unforeseen consequences of its wars.

But rather than focus on what is about to go down in Iran, the chaotic disaster that the Bush Administration's attack on and inept occupation of Iraq has led to, or even the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, I'd like examine the Middle East situation, since it serves as the kindling for the firestorms that sweep the entire region....

--more

Israel Lobby: "The single biggest threat to the world," by Zymphora

You should read this comprehensive article, "The Israel Lobby" by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in the London Review of Books.  Unless something drastic happens soon, this tiny group of American Jewish plutocrats, and the staffs of lobbyists they have working for them, are going to lead us all into World War Three. [John Mearsheimer is the Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science at Chicago, and the author of The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. Stephen Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His most recent book is Taming American Power: The Global Response to US Primacy.]

American policies towards the Middle East fostered by the Lobby will inevitably eventually push hard against the energy security of Asia, and when China sees there is no way out the s--- will hit the fan (good article by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times, "In the heart of Pipelineistan," on how the American stupidity of using nuclear politics to cause conflict between India and Pakistan ties in to the clumsy attempts to stop Asian access to Iranian gas, which of course is a policy dictated by the Lobby).

  The funny thing is that the policies the Lobby forces on the United States don’t even really benefit Israel.  It has become a pure power thing for them, as they flatter themselves seeing how much they can push American politicians around.  The choices are becoming quite stark:  either what amounts to a kind of civil war in American politics, or World War Three.

Big Bush Lies: Bush Lies About His Lies That Took Us To War in Iraq And Led To The Deaths of over 25,000 Human Beings

Bush, March 20, 2006:

"First, just if I might correct a misperception, I don’t think we ever said – at least I know I didn’t say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein."

In fact, Bush justified the war against Iraq by directly linking it to 9/11:

"The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." [Bush’s Letter to Congress, 3/21/03] --Think Progress, March 20, 2006

Letters: Mickey Z. Is Right/No He's Not

After reading Mickey Z's article, "Does anyone really need another article?" You know, I have felt more and more of recent that no matter how loud we scream nobody is actually listening. I'm not a radical right or left, or a strong reactionary person for the most part, but I can't help but feel that American's have given up the struggle and put all of the stuff about terrorism, Katrina, spying without warrants, torture by American soldiers, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo-force feeding, Iraqi Civil war, cronyism, corporate greed, cuts in education, and medicare, and environmental damage - in the too hard bin and slammed the lid shut. Everyone seems to have gone back to bed and pulled the covers up over their heads. What's going on there at home guys / gals? Have we outsourced our concern for our brothers and sisters at home under oppression by this government along with American jobs? I try following the blogs, but the story line is identicle - "no one listens too us" "Our congressman won't do anything" "We tried but it's just too hard." Living oversees, it makes me nuts to look at the huge amount of apathy that controls everyone. Mickey Z is right - Do we need another article!?! --Michael

With Bush's poll numbers in the mid-30s, the vast majority of Americans believing invading Iraq was a mistake, 1 out of 4 Americans calling for the President's impeachment, prominent Congressmen acting to censure him, and on and on... it's difficult to understand what the dissatisfaction is about. Perhaps Americans who are not part of the Media, don't believe their lives should revolve around the Media. This administration gave us quite a scare, but it looks like the country is on to it. But, now we should think about looking at the broader cultural problems the world is facing, and bear in mind that this nation is supposed to be about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; not the pursuit of information....--Richard

I fear your complacency, Richard, which appears to be based, in part, on misinformation and avoidance. What you report changes little. The last I heard, Bush still has 2 3/4 years in office, GOP policies still rule in Congress, the judiciary is being filled with conservative judges, the mainstream media reports Bush lies as fact daily, and the nation continues on its path of destruction: failed ecomony, rising deficit, human and civil rights being taken away, the environment being destroyed, Americans being killed abroad, a new war being talked about, foreign governments and foreign corporations continuing to take over the country, jobs continuing to be lost, U.S. creating more nuclear proliferation, etc., etc. So what if "the country is on to it." That doesn't matter unless the country is doing something about it. And it isn't: the Dems won't even back a censure of Bush, and Congress recently passed a runious Bush budget, for example. What people think about Bush is not relevant, unless it's translated into meaningful legislation. Looks like Bushworld is going to continue for 2 3/4 years, with very little change. Meanwhile, John McCain and Hillary Clinton are in the lead as your next president, and corporate and government corruption is as pervasive as ever. And you want to ignore the "media" and think about the world's "broader cultural problem," whatever that is? --Politex

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Monday, March 20, 2006


News? Does anyone really need another article? Mickey Z.

As I witnessed the media circus surrounding the three-year anniversary of the Iraq War, I thought I might write an article explaining on how the war (sic) didn't "start" three years ago. But surely you already know that. In the midst of myriad Milosevic-as-butcher obituaries, I sat down to pen an essay about the way corporate media outlets demonize official U.S. enemies. But there was nothing new to add.

Much has been made about allegations of our (sic) government spying on its own citizens. This inspired me to put down some thoughts, re: America's long history of domestic spying and similar activities. I didn't get too far because it's nothing new that this is nothing new. What about the latest round of lies being spread about Iran and Venezeula? Surely there was an article that needed to be written about this cycle of deception...but you don't need me to tell you this.

Then there was the recent elections in Palestine, which led me to consider writing something about Hamas being originally created by Israel and the U.S. as a counterbalance to the hated PLO. I hoped to compare this enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend style to U.S./Pakistan/Saudi support for the Taliban and America's funding of anti-USSR Afghan fighters. But, then again, I'd only be preaching to the converted, wouldn't I?

Prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Human rights violations at Gitmo. Democrats fighting each other to sound more hawkish. The Bush regime sat on its hands before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. No WMD in Iraq. What could I possibly say about all this that hasn't already been well-documented by far better known and widely respected pundits...over and over and over on this site and thousands of others? Does anyone really need another article?

You knew all this stuff already, right?

--other essays by Mickey Z.

Letter: Do Protests Influence Bush?

This weekend there were supposedly massive rallies/demonstrations/marches. For what? They fall...on ears & voices eager to strike back, saying [protesters] are siding with the terrorists or being anti-American. Then there is a month's yelling and screaming about it, and then Bush starts another blunder. Deeper and deeper we go. I am as depresssed as hell about it, because...the Bush Regime is doing what it wants, no matter what the polls or anyone say. It's horrible. Of course, I was part of this 3rd Year Iraq War March out here [in California]. I try to stay optimistic, but I feel overwhelmingly pessimistic, as Bush marches way ahead of us, right into hell. --Stan

Bush Diary: Should I Sleep Until It's Over?

I'm still playing catch-up, Bush, after nearly a week with virtually no access to news, other than the occasional glimpses of CNN in our hotel room in Mexico City and the international edition of a regional English-language newspaper. It's refreshing, really, to have to do without that fix. The hiatus reminds me of the great, yawning temptation to chuck it all in, to get on with the intimacy of my life and forget about all those things over which I have no control--including the actions of your good self and your Keystone Kops administration. How nice it would be to go to sleep and wake up when it's over....I can't just allow myself to go to sleep. Sad to say, that's exactly what too many complacent Germans did, those many years ago.

--more

Quote: Bible or Constitution?

On Wednesday, March 1, 2006, at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted into applause. --Baltimore Sun

Today's Bush Speech (#6): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on warrantless wiretapping Bush will speak today on the Department of the Interior

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Sunday, March 19, 2006


Religion: Experts Question Credibility of US Human Rights Report, William Fisher

Foreign policy, legal and human rights authorities are raising serious questions about the credibility of the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human rights, released last week. The response of Noah S. Leavitt, an attorney who has worked with the International Law Commission of the United Nations in Geneva and the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is typical. Leavitt said, "The sad reality is that because of the Bush Administration’s haughty unilateralism and its mockery of international prohibitions on torture, most of the rest of the world no longer takes the U.S. seriously on human rights matters.”

  While most of the experts contacted find little fault with the accuracy of the report, they question whether U.S. human rights abuses committed in the “Global War on Terror” have diminished America’s authority to speak out on this issue. “The State Department's annual human rights report was once a beacon of truth for American policy makers as well as the rest of the world,” said Patricia Kushlis, a retired official of the U.S. Information Agency. She told us, “But how can it now be seen as anything more than a sham when the Bush Administration consistently breaks our own laws - from illegal wiretaps at home to renditions abroad - yet still tries to portray itself as the protector of freedom, democracy and liberty for all?...”

  The report, released in Washington March 8, reviewed human rights achievements and setbacks in some 190 countries and regions around the world. It called the human rights records of key Arab allies poor or problematic, citing flawed elections and torture of prisoners in Egypt, beatings, arbitrary arrest and lack of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, and floggings as punishment for adultery or drug abuse in the United Arab Emirates. Iraq’s performance was said to be ''handicapped'' by insurgency and terrorism that affected every aspect of life, the State Department said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month. She praised these nations for being “strategic partners” helping the U.S. in the Global War on Terrorism.

  The relationship between the U.S. and the UAE became the center of a political firestorm last week... --more

Religion: Elements of a Human Rights-Based Democracy, Gerry Lower

The bulk of the human world is currently conflicted between the past and the future, and the past is doing everything possible to prevent the future.  In doing so, of course, it guarantees the future. Most of this global conflict is over values. America is conflicted between the values of religious capitalism and the values of democracy.  Israel is conflicted between the values of Judaism and the values of democracy.  Iran is conflicted between the values of Islamism and the values of democracy.  China is conflicted between the values of Confucianism and the values of democracy.  All over the world, the conflict is between the values of the despotic cultural "isms" and the values of democracy.

The United Nations is currently enmeshed in establishing a new "Human Rights Council" and a draft resolution has appeared from the president of the General Assembly, Kofi Annan (1). [This week a resolution approved ,with US dissenting, calls for the election of new council members on May 9 and a first meeting of the council on June 19. NYT. --Politex] It begins by reaffirming the concept of human rights and reaffirming various published documents on the subject, e.g., the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It does mention that human rights are "universal, indivisible, inter-related and interdependent," and it itemizes various governmental and bureaucratic approaches to the nourishment of human rights on the global stage. While the fundamental importance of human rights is reaffirmed, there is no mention of the origins and history of human rights, there is no mention of the role of human rights within a democracy, and no mention of the state of democracy in the world. This knowledge happens to be critical to the goals of the United Nations as an international exercise in democracy.

We seem to have forgotten that human rights constitute the sole bottom line in Jefferson's democracy, not to be compromised by vengeance-based western legal systems and not to be compromised by politically-correct eastern ethical systems (3).  In other words, given the importance of human rights, it is the values of democracy that need more to be addressed and how the concept of human rights relates to the practice of democracy. This is necessitated because the modern world's first formal democracy has fallen from grace under capitalism's bipartisan dominion since World War II.  Unable to distinguish between the values of democracy and the values of corporate capitalism, America has de-evolved in half a century to the point of believing itself justified to promote "democracy" (i.e., corporate capitalism) with preemptive war in the Middle East.  With the exception of Britain, America's old colonial oppressor, very few nations have been able to see things that way.

In other words, when it comes to nourishing democracy outside of its own borders, America no longer has much to offer, a superficial nation more interested in profit margins than in people and peace (4).  For this reason, it is worthy for the United Nations and all people to consider human rights within the context of democracy and not as a stand-alone concept....  --more

Question: Why Did 20 Senate Democrates...

(i.e., Daniel Akaka, Max Baucus, Byron Dorgan, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Daniel Inouye, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Herb Kohl, Mary Landrieu, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Jack Reed, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, Chuck Schumer, and Ron Wyden) vote to censure Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job, but can't bring themselves to do the same to George Bush for illegal wiretapping--let alone lying us into an unnecessary war? --Ellis Weiner, Liberal Oasis, Firedoglake.

Sunday Funnies: New 'Toons by Bell, Sutton, Fiore, and Tomorrow

Play Spin the Democrat! The Republicans' Favorite Game (By Ward Sutton)
Three full years of cons, combat, and chaos! (By Mark Fiore)
Facts Turning Against You? Call the Nitpicking Squad! (By Tom Tomorrow)
Bush Pledge To Aid Africa, By Steve Bell

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Saturday, March 18, 2006


Deficit Drug: Senate Gives Bush Permission To Run Up Even Larger Deficit, Carl Hulse

Just hours after opening a new line of credit through an increase in the federal debt limit, the Senate splurged on a bevy of popular programs before approving a spending plan that was as much a political document as an economic one, its fine print geared to the coming elections. Lawmakers, analysts and others said the Senate's reluctance to clamp down on spending was a natural result of an approach that fails to recognize a sharply changed reality. In some respects, the administration and Congress act as if the surplus that greeted President Bush when he checked into the White House is still in the bank, rather than recognizing that whatever windfall was available then was eaten up and more by tax cuts.

The reality is that the cuts, plus two wars, new domestic security needs, natural disasters and a big expansion of Medicare have left the government's account badly overdrawn with no prospect of getting it back in balance anytime soon. The criticisms set out by many Democrats — that no real progress can be made in setting the nation's finances right until Congress proves willing to revisit the tax cuts and that the nation is failing to invest sufficiently in addressing its economic and social ills — do not receive much of a hearing in a Washington where Republicans are in charge....

"I think the critical flaw is the failure to adjust fiscal policy in the face of new circumstances," said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group that advocates reducing the deficit through spending cuts and tax increases. Mr. Bixby and others say the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration have shown a near total disregard for fiscal discipline, running up new debt. "The problem we have had on the budget all along is a lack of adult supervision on the part of the White House," said Bruce Bartlett, an economist and author of a new book critical of Mr. Bush's economic record. "You can't blame members of Congress for looking out for their parochial interests. It is the president's responsibility to look out for the national interest."

With the president's influence on Capitol Hill slipping along with his poll numbers, it is unclear how much authority Mr. Bush could exert over lawmakers regardless. Senate Republicans showed no hesitation about bursting through the spending ceiling he set, adding more than $16 billion after eliminating some of his cuts....Almost lost in all the budget and spending activity was that House and Senate negotiators continue to try to hammer out an agreement for new tax cuts that could cost an additional $70 billion over five years.

--more

Drug Nation: Anxiety, Sleep Pill Sales Go Up Under Bush, William Fisher

  New prescriptions for sleep aid rose 27.5%. Anti-anxiety drug prescriptions are up 25% and anti-depressants up 17%. New prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants are up 13%, while sleep aid prescriptions are up 8%. Nationwide, anti-anxiety prescriptions are up 8.6%, anti-depressants up 2.6%, and sleep aids up 7.5%....Medical authorities report that the sorry state of the nation’s mental health is deteriorating for reasons that reach far beyond 9/11. And far beyond World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In large and small, urban and rural communities in places like Kansas and Arkansas and Maine, citizens find themselves trying to live “old normal” lives but are unable to find respite from the low-level but persistent environment of fear, anxiety, and conflict that has come to be known as the ‘new normal’....

  We all recall Karl Rove’s cynical observation that 9/11 would be a boffo campaign issue in the 2004 election. And it was. Now, equally cynical politicians from both sides of the aisle are using and will continue to use the “new normal” to divide us. Nation against nation. Left against right. Interest group against interest group. Church against State. Religion against religion. Immigrants against citizens.

  When President Bush was elected (sic) in 2000, he promised to unite us through “compassionate conservatism”. Since when he has worked tirelessly to unite only his base. The result has been what John Edwards calls the “Two Americas”. Many Americans are trying to cope by popping more pills.... --more

Sleep Drug: Attack of the Ambien Monsters (excerpts), Maureen Dowd

New Yorkers have been calling their doctors and nutritionists this week to see whether they should switch hypnotics, now that Minnesota researchers have suggested that Ambien may be creating a new form of ravenous sleeper cells, an alarming development given that some people had actually been taking Ambien to avoid the urge to stay up and raid the fridge....

A headline on Wednesday read "Study: Ambien Users Invade Countries in Their Sleep; Wake Up With No Memory of Reasons for Invasion, No Exit Strategy." The story was written by the humorist Andy Borowitz, who also imagined that an Ambien side effect might be a tendency of some politicians to concoct incomprehensible prescription drug programs while asleep.

But real life once more outstrips satire, as the military in Iraq conducts Ambien air assaults. The president and some Pentagon officials have no memory of authorizing the strikes, and the generals in Iraq have no memory that they've already used these tactics without lasting success.... --more

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Friday, March 17, 2006


Did you know that the only Catholic chaplain in the Senate was Charles Pise in 1832, who was assistant pastor at Washington's St. Patrick's Church? The House has never had a Catholic chaplain. This bit of St. Patrick's Day history came from NYT's William O'Safire in 2000, who had a suggestion.

It seems that a House committee voted to have a particular Catholic priest as House chaplain, but "all hell had broken loose" when the selection was announced. House Speaker Dennis O'Hastert then decided to award the position to a runner-up Protestant minister instead, and he was backed, said O'Safire, by "Protestent GOP members, egged on by irate evangelicals." Naturally, the forty Catholic House Republicans were in disagreement.

Wouldn't this had been a great time for Mr. O'Bush to step in and assert those leadership qualities that he so often brags are his? "George W. Bush could have shown some leadership by calling the speaker on St. Patrick's Day to urge him to name a priest," suggested Mr. O'Safire.

Don't hold your breath, said I at the time. Just because Mr. O'Bush likes to talk about his leadership qualities in the abstract doesn't mean he has any. Isn't Dubya bloody well grand? He's a fine piece of work, he is. --Paddy O'Furniture, St. Patrick's Day

Killing Americans: Bush Puts America On Death Row, Chris Floyd

Hardened cynics often accuse President George W. Bush of ruthlessly exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 to advance his pre-set agenda of killing a whole heap of foreigners. This is, of course, a calumnious slander against the Dear Leader's noble ambitions. For as he clearly demonstrated last week, Bush is also exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 to advance his pre-set agenda to kill a whole heap of Americans as well.

In yet another of those momentous degradations of public morality that go unremarked by the ever-vigilant watchdogs of the national media, Bush slipped a measure into the revamped "Patriot (sic) Act" he signed last week that will allow him to expedite the death penalty process across the land, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Prisoners just aren't being killed fast enough for ole George, you see. They hang on for years and years, using all them lawyer tricks and court procedures and what all, that DNA hocus-pocus and habeas corpus junk, or even new testimony showing that they're innocent – as if that mattered. No, you got to strap 'em down and shoot 'em up with that poison juice lickety-split, churn those convict corpses out like so much prime pork sausage – the way ole George did it when he was head honcho down in Texas....

--more

Today's Bush Speech (#5): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on Claude Allen Bush will speak today on warrantless wiretapping

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Take Back the Party: I've Had Enough Of The D.C. Dems (excerpts), Molly Ivins

Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a b---- up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton....I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight....

Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers. Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief. This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks a--....

What happens now is not up to the has-beens in Washington who run this party. It is up to us. So let’s get off our butts and start building a progressive movement that can block the nomination of Hillary Clinton or any other candidate who supposedly has “all the money sewed up.” I am tired of having the party nomination decided before the first primary vote is cast, tired of having the party beholden to the same old Establishment money. We can raise our own money on the Internet, and we know it. Howard Dean raised $42 million, largely on the web, with a late start when he was running for President, and that ain’t chicken feed. If we double it, it gives us the lock on the nomination. So let’s go find a good candidate early and organize the s--- out of our side. --read more, including the naughty words

Parody: Our Degeneration, Pete Townshend with Jerry Politex

"He's [Mr. Bush] a revolutionary and has a revolutionary vision." --Bush National Security Adviser Steven Hadley, from "Rebel-in-Chief"

Polls just try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Cit'zens say are shirts are brown (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
People say we screw around (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
We will take your nation down (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Things we do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Spin we do is always b-b-bold (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
People die before they're old (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Your nation to our bosses sold (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)

This is our degeneration
This is our degeneration
This is our degeneration, baby
This is our degeneration, baby

Why don’t you all just l-learn to see (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Why don’t you all just l-let us be (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Don't-ya know this is our d-d-day (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
We're not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
We just want to sack your n-n-nation (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Just want to screw your old g-g-g-generation (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Want to destroy your g-g-g-generation (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)

This is our degeneration
This is our degeneration
This is our degeneration, baby
This is our degeneration, baby

Polls just try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Cit'zens say are shirts are brown (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
People say we screw around (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
We will take your nation down (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Things we do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Spin we do is always b-b-bold (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
People die before they're old (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)
Your nation to our bosses sold (talkin’ ’bout our degeneration)

This is our degeneration
This is our degeneration
This is our degeneration, baby
This is our degeneration, baby

And you can't put us down!

--by Pete Townshend, with changes by Jerry Politex

--more

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Warning: Why The Dems Probably Will Lose In 2008 (excerpts), Maureen Dowd

It may be true that Americans, as one Democrat told me, "will never elect a guy as president who has a name like a Middle East terrorist." And it may be true that Democrats are racing like lemmings toward a race where, as one moaned, "John McCain will dribble Hillary Clinton's head down the court like a basketball."

But the clever, elegant performance by Mr. Obama — who is intent on keeping his head down in the Senate until he, too, can be a tedious insider — underscored the Democratic vacuum. Not only do the Democrats "stand for anything," as Mr. Obama semijoked [at a recent dinner], but they have no champion at a time when people are hungry for an exciting leader, when the party should be roaring and soaring against the Bushies' power-mad stumbles. They should groom an '08 star who can run on the pledge of doing what's right instead of only what's far right.

The Republicans won with Ronald Reagan and W. by taking guys with more likeability and sizzle than experience. They figure they'll win in a McCain-Hillary duel by running a conservative beloved by the media and many Democrats against a polarizing Northerner who can't win any red states despite pandering to conservatives.

The weak and pathetic Democrats seem to move inexorably toward candidates who turn a lot of people off. They should find someone captivating with an intensely American success story — someone like Senator Obama, Tom Brokaw or some innovative business mogul who's less crazy than Ross Perot — and shape the campaign around that leader. Barack Obama is 44. J.F.K., who had a reputation as a callow playboy and lawmaker who barely knew his way around the Hill, was 43 when he became president....

Democrats think Senator Potential's experience does not match Senator Pothole's. Much of hers is as a first lady who bollixed up chunks of domestic policy. They also suspect she may be more macho than he is. They fret that the freshman Illinois senator would wilt against the Arizona senator's foreign policy experience — and he probably would. But Mr. McCain, a big hawk on Iraq, has talked of sending more troops, and his mentor was Henry Kissinger. These are not recommendations.... --more

Analysis: The Right And Left In A Nutshell, Ernest Partridge

Those of us who are at middle age or beyond have lived through a revolution in political and economic theory and practice, a revolution so profound that few of us can even begin to appreciate its significance, much less its peril. Future historians, however, will understand and appreciate this revolution and will wonder at the passivity of the public today and the ease with which those who instituted this upheaval achieved their success. The same historians, I would venture, will be equally or more amazed at how this moment played out. But this we cannot know, for their past is our immediate future. We are the agents of that still-to-be written history. The United States of America, in this year of 2006, is at a hinge of history. Our fate, and that of our successors, rests directly in the hands of all of us who are politically alert and active today. As Edward R. Murrow famously said, “we can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result."

Those factions and interests now in control of the United States government declare that their policies, which they choose to call “conservative” and I prefer to call “regressive,” are an advancement in the course of human history. Those who disagree, and the pollsters tell us that they are a majority of the American people, believe that in the past five years, and arguably in the past twenty-five years, the people of the United States and their government, have suffered a grievous setback. I count myself among this dissenting majority. In my book, "Conscience of a Progressive," now nearing completion, I attempt to articulate that dissent, criticize the foundational dogmas of the regnant, “regressive” regime that now controls our country, and justify the principles of “progressivism” – the political-economic ideology that distinguished and honored our past, and if we are both determined and fortunate, may once again guide and enrich our national future.

Here, briefly, are the “players” in this political contest. --more

Today's Bush Speech (#4): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on the deficit Bush will speak today on Claude Allen

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Vote Fraud: An Appearance of Guilt, Ernest Partridge

The accumulated weight of evidence of election fraud – statistical, circumstantial, and anecdotal – has failed to move the mainstream media to report or investigate this evidence, or the Democratic party to acknowledge and protest the apparent Republican control of our elections. This essay is not yet another account of that evidence, which I have spelled out extensively and which I firmly believe to be compelling.

Instead, I wish to deal with another indicator that our national elections no longer represent the will of the voters, but rather are manipulated to produce the outcome desired by the "winning" candidates and party. This indicator is the behavior of those who manufacture, program, and operate the paperless, unauditable machines (direct recording electronic: "DRE"), and those who benefit from this technology.

Perhaps this new electronic voting technology is as honest and reliable as the private election industry and the winning candidates tell us it is. However, they simply do not behave as if this were the case.... Which of these two responses more closely resembles the behavior of the DRE manufacturers (Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia), of the Republican Congress, and of the Republican National Committee? Are the DRE manufacturers and the Republicans acting in a manner consistent with their claims that "e-voting" is both honest and accurate? Or are they behaving as if they have something to hide? Here are a few indicators....

--more

Bush Torture: Bush Has Created The New Black Plague Infecting The Planet, Chris Floyd

...Who knows what seeds of future horror are being sown this very day in the vast, sprawling hive of torture that President George W. Bush and his chief minions, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, have spread across the planet? How many lies condemning how many innocent people are being extracted by "stress techniques," by "sensory disorientation," by electric shocks and sexual humiliation, by waterboarding and snarling dogs, by the infliction of pain just short of "organ failure or impairment of bodily function" and other refinements devised by the perverters of law in the White House and Pentagon?

Each week brings fresh confirmation of the continuing atrocities -- carried out as deliberate state policy, at the order of top officials -- in the Bushist hellholes of Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other sites still hidden from the sun. This past week, it came from Amnesty International, which documented the plight of 14,000 prisoners held without charges by U.S. occupiers and their native proxies in Iraq: limbo denizens, some incarcerated for years, many of them horribly tortured.

Last week, it came from the Bush administration itself, which declared in court that the much-ballyhooed "anti-torture" law signed by Bush last month is a dead letter, The Washington Post reports. The Bushists say that the law's protections cannot be applied to the Guantanamo captives, because a backdoor provision in the bill stripped those subhumans of their habeas corpus rights: They have no standing before any court to address any aspect of their eternal detention -- until they have gone through the guts of Bush's extra-constitutional "military tribunals." And there they will find that the evidence against them may have been extracted by torture Agence France Presse reports...

--more

Verse: On Bush's 34% Approval Rating, Calvin Trillin

Most pols would find another path to take
Or look for policies they might forsake,
For those are numbers they could not abide.
But those pols don't have Jesus on their side.

Today's Bush Speech (#3): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on Gail Norton Bush will speak today on the deficit


Monday, March 13, 2006

Politics: Hawk Liar McCain Votes Ultra-Conservative and is a Political Suck-up (excerpts), Paul Krugman

It's time for some straight talk about John McCain. He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be. Mr. McCain's reputation as a moderate may be based on his former opposition to the Bush tax cuts. In 2001 he declared, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us."

But now — at a time of huge budget deficits and an expensive war, when the case against tax cuts for the rich is even stronger — Mr. McCain is happy to shower benefits on the most fortunate. He recently voted to extend tax cuts on dividends and capital gains, an action that will worsen the budget deficit while mainly benefiting people with very high incomes....The bottom line is that Mr. McCain isn't a moderate; he's a man of the hard right. How far right? A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at www.voteview.com, ranks him as the Senate's third most conservative member....

When it comes to foreign policy, Mr. McCain was never moderate. During the 2000 campaign he called for a policy of "rogue state rollback," anticipating the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive war unveiled two years later. Mr. McCain called for a systematic effort to overthrow nasty regimes even if they posed no imminent threat to the United States; he singled out Iraq, Libya and North Korea. Mr. McCain's aggressive views on foreign policy, and his expressed willingness, almost eagerness, to commit U.S. ground forces overseas, explain why he, not George W. Bush, was the favored candidate of neoconservative pundits such as William Kristol of The Weekly Standard....

[McCain] isn't a straight talker. His flip-flopping on tax cuts, his call to send troops we don't have to Iraq and his endorsement of the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation even while claiming that he would find a way around that legislation's central provision show that he's a politician as slippery and evasive as, well, George W. Bush.

He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him in the right wing of the Republican Party. And he isn't a maverick, at least not when it counts. When the cameras are rolling, Mr. McCain can sometimes be seen striking a brave pose of opposition to the White House. But when it matters, when the Bush administration's ability to do whatever it wants is at stake, Mr. McCain always toes the party line....

--more

Today's Bush Speech (#2): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on Iraq Bush will speak today on Gail Norton


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Power of Prayer: Bush and Blair and Whose God? Gerry Lower

If anything, the Bush-Blair embrace of religion demonstrates just how far away these two prominent world leaders have fallen from the values and viewpoints of the modern world's first formal democracy - in the name of a remarkably corrupt corporate aristocracy and an uncaring marketplace (2).  Both men are unable to make a distinction between the values of corporate capitalism and the values of nascent Christianity and democracy.  Both are unaware that neither of them know what they are talking about, speaking as they do from within a "culture of corruption" (3).... --more

The Bush Diaries: Pray To God, by Peter Clothier

If I were to vote for a person on the strength of praying to God, I'd also be looking for someone upon whom God might seem to look more favorably. Your fervent prayer before the hurricane, made public in that now-infamous tape, was curiously ineffective. And the mess the world is in does not speak highly of your personal relationship with the Higher Power. No disrespect, Bush, but it seems to me that God has not been doing you any notable favors, these past few years. Nor the rest of us, of course. You claim to talk to Him, but is He listening?... --more

God in My Pocket: Bush and Blair Say God Made Them Do It, Christine Tomlinson

So I open the New York TImes this morning and see "Blair Invokes God in Decision to Send British Troops to Iraq." Remembering back to 2003 we have Bush saying "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did."

So Mr Blair and Mr Bush, I ask... --more

Sunday Funnies: New 'Toons by Bell, Sutton, Fiore, and Tomorrow

Clinic Confessions: Abortion Anxieties and Fertility Frenzies, (By Ward Sutton)
Learn the Secrets of Nuclear Success, And you too can become a superpower! (By Mark Fiore)
The Untroubled World of Your Average Conservative, (By Tom Tomorrow)
U.S. Abhors Torture, By Steve Bell

Inside Bush Watch: Today's Opinions and Features From Bush Watch Columnists,
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

War: Will Bush Deflect Impeachment Talk By Starting A War In Iran? Walter C. Uhler

Unlike Hitler and Stalin, who collaborated to effect Poland's dismemberment, Cheney and [Iran's] Ahmadinejad play 'winner take all." Thanks to the criminal dishonesty and gross incompetence of Cheney, his fellow "cabal-mate," Rumsfeld, a sycophantic Condoleezza Rice and their "Bubble-boy President," George W. Bush, the debacle crafted in Iraq by America's war party has strengthened both the position and confidence of Iran - not only in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East. Moreover, America's debacle in Iraq has emboldened Ahmadinejad -- Cheney's ultraconservative "double" -- to contemplate a clash of civilizations aimed at the eradication of Israel. Now, both bloodthirsty megalomaniacs seem ready to wage war.

For Cheney - and, thus, for Rumsfeld, Rice and their "Bubble-boy" -- the pretexts for war will be Iran's pursuit of the bomb and its "putting people into Iraq to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq." [Rumsfeld, 7 March 2006] To be persuasive, however, they must once again count on the patriotic suspension of disbelief by the mainstream news media and widespread public ignorance of foreign affairs, both of which served them so well during the run-up to war in Iraq.

Ahmadinejad waxes confident in the knowledge that Iran's oil can be leveraged against the American economy, that virtually all Iranians will unite behind him in the event of a U.S. attack, that America's conventional military forces have been stretched to the breaking point and that an attack on Iran might ignite a Middle East explosion that destroys Israel....

--more

Another Christian Right Hypocrite: Bush Domestic Policy Czar Worked On SOU Speech While He Stole From Chain Stories, Doug Ireland

Former Bush domestic policy czar Claude Allen has been arrested in Maryland on charges of swindling at least $5000 out of Targets and Hecht's stores in a refund scam, the Washington Post reports this morning. When Allen was named by Bush as his White House domestic counselor a year ago, I wrote a profile of Allen for the L.A. Weekly detailing how Allen was "a notorious homophobe, a ferocious enemy of abortion and an opponent of safe-sex education who for years has been one of the AIDS community’s principal enemies," and explaining why his appointment was was "a huge victory for the social reactionaries of the Christian right."

...The New York Times report this morning on Allen's arrest this past Thursday says that the White House knew of Allen's legal problems in January, but kept him on to work on the State of the Union address. In the sanitized chronology provided by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, as relayed by the Times...

--more

Today's Bush Speech (#1): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on Dubai Bush will speak today on Iraq

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Big Bush Lies: The Ignorance Defense, Xymphora

Condoleezza Rice said that no one could have imagined the September 11 attacks, while admitting that Bush had the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing on his desk entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States”.  Bush said “I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees”, and we now know he had received a full briefing about just that danger, before he went off to play guitar and present John McCain with a cake.  Bush had detailed briefings from his own officials prior to the attack on Iraq that the substance of the arguments made by his own Administration in order to lead to war was false, yet the Bush Administration continued to lie until they secured the war they wanted, and now claim that they didn’t know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.  The neocons swear up and down that they are shocked by the violent uprising in Iraq, and yet Oded Yinon, strategizing for Israel, spelled it out years ago:

“Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria.  . . .   Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”

The Ignorance Defense is one of the main weapons of conspirators.  “We didn’t know.”  “No one could have known.”  The Ignorance Defense is similar to the Stupidity Defense and the Incompetence Defense.  I don’t know about stupidity and incompetence, but I think the Bush Administration has completely worn out the Ignorance Defense.

"On Second Thought, Don't Make My Day."

That's what Dirty George is now saying about his threat to veto any bill out of Congress that refuses to accept the Dubai ports deal. Thursday afternoon DP World, the United Arab Emirates state-owned company, announced in one paragraph that it will transfer the American port properties to an American-owned company. DP did not say it will sell its U.S. port holdings, just "transfer" them. Friday morning the New York Times reported, "Under questioning, the company declined to say whether it planned to sell the American operations or had some other transaction in mind." While DP World has yet to announce the name of that American-owned company, we wonder if it will be something like "Halliburton World."

Regardless, DP World will continue its policy of blind shipments, a "don't ask, don't tell" method of shipping, according to Congressman Duncan Hunter on Hardball Thursday. Under the supposedly revised plan, the Dubai government-owned company will still be unloading a large proportion of its 2.4 million containers each year into North America through its Vancouver, Canada port, according to the BBC --Politex.

Big Bush Lies: How The Bush-Dubai Port Scam Would Work, Simon Romero on Lehrer (PBS)

MARGARET WARNER Senator Warner said, D.P. World will transfer fully the U.S. operations to a United States entity. Now, does that sound like full divestiture of the U.S. portion of this deal?

SIMON ROMERO Well, Margaret, it's very hard to tell at this point, because, you know, there were reports earlier today that were saying that some private equity companies in the United States were interested in bidding for those U.S. assets. But...exactly like the D.P. World statement says, they're not saying that they are selling them. They are simply saying that they are transferring them. So, that could very well mean that they could create a legal entity that is based in the United States, that has American managers, and even an American board of directors, but could still be effectively controlled...by Dubai.

MARGARET WARNER Is there any kind of model for that, that kind of you're -- you are shedding the operations, but you are not completely giving up total control?

SIMON ROMERO It's a strategy that...American companies have often employed in their operations in politically sensitive areas of the world. It's not completely unknown....Halliburton, for example, has done something like this in Iran, where they operated for many years, up until recently. They simply operated those...those Iranian operations out of an offshore entity. And that could be very well...what the Dubai company is planning to do as well....

Of the top eight terminal operations companies in the world that do...this type of work...at big international ports, only one is American. And that company is based out of Seattle. It is called SSA Marine. It is a family-owned company. But it's not nearly of the same scale as...as Dubai Ports World or its competitor in bid...for P&O, which was a company that was controlled by Singapore's government. So...American companies really began ceding...these terminal operations to foreign companies decades ago.

After a new study showed that only one in 1,000 Americans know what the First Amendment is, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “Good, then no one will notice when it’s gone.” --Andy Borowitz

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Vote Fraud: An Appearance of Guilt, Ernest Partridge

The accumulated weight of evidence of election fraud – statistical, circumstantial, and anecdotal – has failed to move the mainstream media to report or investigate this evidence, or the Democratic party to acknowledge and protest the apparent Republican control of our elections. This essay is not yet another account of that evidence, which I have spelled out extensively and which I firmly believe to be compelling.

Instead, I wish to deal with another indicator that our national elections no longer represent the will of the voters, but rather are manipulated to produce the outcome desired by the "winning" candidates and party. This indicator is the behavior of those who manufacture, program, and operate the paperless, unauditable machines (direct recording electronic: "DRE"), and those who benefit from this technology.

Perhaps this new electronic voting technology is as honest and reliable as the private election industry and the winning candidates tell us it is. However, they simply do not behave as if this were the case.... Which of these two responses more closely resembles the behavior of the DRE manufacturers (Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia), of the Republican Congress, and of the Republican National Committee? Are the DRE manufacturers and the Republicans acting in a manner consistent with their claims that "e-voting" is both honest and accurate? Or are they behaving as if they have something to hide? Here are a few indicators....

--more

Bush Torture: Bush Has Created The New Black Plague Infecting The Planet, Chris Floyd

...Who knows what seeds of future horror are being sown this very day in the vast, sprawling hive of torture that President George W. Bush and his chief minions, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, have spread across the planet? How many lies condemning how many innocent people are being extracted by "stress techniques," by "sensory disorientation," by electric shocks and sexual humiliation, by waterboarding and snarling dogs, by the infliction of pain just short of "organ failure or impairment of bodily function" and other refinements devised by the perverters of law in the White House and Pentagon?

Each week brings fresh confirmation of the continuing atrocities -- carried out as deliberate state policy, at the order of top officials -- in the Bushist hellholes of Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other sites still hidden from the sun. This past week, it came from Amnesty International, which documented the plight of 14,000 prisoners held without charges by U.S. occupiers and their native proxies in Iraq: limbo denizens, some incarcerated for years, many of them horribly tortured.

Last week, it came from the Bush administration itself, which declared in court that the much-ballyhooed "anti-torture" law signed by Bush last month is a dead letter, The Washington Post reports. The Bushists say that the law's protections cannot be applied to the Guantanamo captives, because a backdoor provision in the bill stripped those subhumans of their habeas corpus rights: They have no standing before any court to address any aspect of their eternal detention -- until they have gone through the guts of Bush's extra-constitutional "military tribunals." And there they will find that the evidence against them may have been extracted by torture Agence France Presse reports...

--more

Verse: On Bush's 34% Approval Rating, Calvin Trillin

Most pols would find another path to take
Or look for policies they might forsake,
For those are numbers they could not abide.
But those pols don't have Jesus on their side.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Politics: Hawk Liar McCain Votes Ultra-Conservative and is a Political Suck-up (excerpts), Paul Krugman

It's time for some straight talk about John McCain. He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be. Mr. McCain's reputation as a moderate may be based on his former opposition to the Bush tax cuts. In 2001 he declared, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us."

But now — at a time of huge budget deficits and an expensive war, when the case against tax cuts for the rich is even stronger — Mr. McCain is happy to shower benefits on the most fortunate. He recently voted to extend tax cuts on dividends and capital gains, an action that will worsen the budget deficit while mainly benefiting people with very high incomes....The bottom line is that Mr. McCain isn't a moderate; he's a man of the hard right. How far right? A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at www.voteview.com, ranks him as the Senate's third most conservative member....

When it comes to foreign policy, Mr. McCain was never moderate. During the 2000 campaign he called for a policy of "rogue state rollback," anticipating the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive war unveiled two years later. Mr. McCain called for a systematic effort to overthrow nasty regimes even if they posed no imminent threat to the United States; he singled out Iraq, Libya and North Korea. Mr. McCain's aggressive views on foreign policy, and his expressed willingness, almost eagerness, to commit U.S. ground forces overseas, explain why he, not George W. Bush, was the favored candidate of neoconservative pundits such as William Kristol of The Weekly Standard....

[McCain] isn't a straight talker. His flip-flopping on tax cuts, his call to send troops we don't have to Iraq and his endorsement of the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation even while claiming that he would find a way around that legislation's central provision show that he's a politician as slippery and evasive as, well, George W. Bush.

He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him in the right wing of the Republican Party. And he isn't a maverick, at least not when it counts. When the cameras are rolling, Mr. McCain can sometimes be seen striking a brave pose of opposition to the White House. But when it matters, when the Bush administration's ability to do whatever it wants is at stake, Mr. McCain always toes the party line....

--more

Today's Bush Speech (#2): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on Iraq Bush will speak today on Gail Norton


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Power of Prayer: Bush and Blair and Whose God? Gerry Lower

If anything, the Bush-Blair embrace of religion demonstrates just how far away these two prominent world leaders have fallen from the values and viewpoints of the modern world's first formal democracy - in the name of a remarkably corrupt corporate aristocracy and an uncaring marketplace (2).  Both men are unable to make a distinction between the values of corporate capitalism and the values of nascent Christianity and democracy.  Both are unaware that neither of them know what they are talking about, speaking as they do from within a "culture of corruption" (3).... --more

The Bush Diaries: Pray To God, by Peter Clothier

If I were to vote for a person on the strength of praying to God, I'd also be looking for someone upon whom God might seem to look more favorably. Your fervent prayer before the hurricane, made public in that now-infamous tape, was curiously ineffective. And the mess the world is in does not speak highly of your personal relationship with the Higher Power. No disrespect, Bush, but it seems to me that God has not been doing you any notable favors, these past few years. Nor the rest of us, of course. You claim to talk to Him, but is He listening?... --more

God in My Pocket: Bush and Blair Say God Made Them Do It, Christine Tomlinson

So I open the New York TImes this morning and see "Blair Invokes God in Decision to Send British Troops to Iraq." Remembering back to 2003 we have Bush saying "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did."

So Mr Blair and Mr Bush, I ask... --more

Sunday Funnies: New 'Toons by Bell, Sutton, Fiore, and Tomorrow

Clinic Confessions: Abortion Anxieties and Fertility Frenzies, (By Ward Sutton)
Learn the Secrets of Nuclear Success, And you too can become a superpower! (By Mark Fiore)
The Untroubled World of Your Average Conservative, (By Tom Tomorrow)
U.S. Abhors Torture, By Steve Bell

Inside Bush Watch: Today's Opinions and Features From Bush Watch Columnists,
Excerpts From World Opinion
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

War: Will Bush Deflect Impeachment Talk By Starting A War In Iran? Walter C. Uhler

Unlike Hitler and Stalin, who collaborated to effect Poland's dismemberment, Cheney and [Iran's] Ahmadinejad play 'winner take all." Thanks to the criminal dishonesty and gross incompetence of Cheney, his fellow "cabal-mate," Rumsfeld, a sycophantic Condoleezza Rice and their "Bubble-boy President," George W. Bush, the debacle crafted in Iraq by America's war party has strengthened both the position and confidence of Iran - not only in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East. Moreover, America's debacle in Iraq has emboldened Ahmadinejad -- Cheney's ultraconservative "double" -- to contemplate a clash of civilizations aimed at the eradication of Israel. Now, both bloodthirsty megalomaniacs seem ready to wage war.

For Cheney - and, thus, for Rumsfeld, Rice and their "Bubble-boy" -- the pretexts for war will be Iran's pursuit of the bomb and its "putting people into Iraq to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq." [Rumsfeld, 7 March 2006] To be persuasive, however, they must once again count on the patriotic suspension of disbelief by the mainstream news media and widespread public ignorance of foreign affairs, both of which served them so well during the run-up to war in Iraq.

Ahmadinejad waxes confident in the knowledge that Iran's oil can be leveraged against the American economy, that virtually all Iranians will unite behind him in the event of a U.S. attack, that America's conventional military forces have been stretched to the breaking point and that an attack on Iran might ignite a Middle East explosion that destroys Israel....

--more

Another Christian Right Hypocrite: Bush Domestic Policy Czar Worked On SOU Speech While He Stole From Chain Stories, Doug Ireland

Former Bush domestic policy czar Claude Allen has been arrested in Maryland on charges of swindling at least $5000 out of Targets and Hecht's stores in a refund scam, the Washington Post reports this morning. When Allen was named by Bush as his White House domestic counselor a year ago, I wrote a profile of Allen for the L.A. Weekly detailing how Allen was "a notorious homophobe, a ferocious enemy of abortion and an opponent of safe-sex education who for years has been one of the AIDS community’s principal enemies," and explaining why his appointment was was "a huge victory for the social reactionaries of the Christian right."

...The New York Times report this morning on Allen's arrest this past Thursday says that the White House knew of Allen's legal problems in January, but kept him on to work on the State of the Union address. In the sanitized chronology provided by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, as relayed by the Times...

--more

Today's Bush Speech (#1): Given the failure of yesterday's speech on Dubai Bush will speak today on Iraq

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Big Bush Lies: The Ignorance Defense, Xymphora

Condoleezza Rice said that no one could have imagined the September 11 attacks, while admitting that Bush had the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing on his desk entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States”.  Bush said “I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees”, and we now know he had received a full briefing about just that danger, before he went off to play guitar and present John McCain with a cake.  Bush had detailed briefings from his own officials prior to the attack on Iraq that the substance of the arguments made by his own Administration in order to lead to war was false, yet the Bush Administration continued to lie until they secured the war they wanted, and now claim that they didn’t know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.  The neocons swear up and down that they are shocked by the violent uprising in Iraq, and yet Oded Yinon, strategizing for Israel, spelled it out years ago:

“Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria.  . . .   Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”

The Ignorance Defense is one of the main weapons of conspirators.  “We didn’t know.”  “No one could have known.”  The Ignorance Defense is similar to the Stupidity Defense and the Incompetence Defense.  I don’t know about stupidity and incompetence, but I think the Bush Administration has completely worn out the Ignorance Defense.

"On Second Thought, Don't Make My Day."

That's what Dirty George is now saying about his threat to veto any bill out of Congress that refuses to accept the Dubai ports deal. Thursday afternoon DP World, the United Arab Emirates state-owned company, announced in one paragraph that it will transfer the American port properties to an American-owned company. DP did not say it will sell its U.S. port holdings, just "transfer" them. Friday morning the New York Times reported, "Under questioning, the company declined to say whether it planned to sell the American operations or had some other transaction in mind." While DP World has yet to announce the name of that American-owned company, we wonder if it will be something like "Halliburton World."

Regardless, DP World will continue its policy of blind shipments, a "don't ask, don't tell" method of shipping, according to Congressman Duncan Hunter on Hardball Thursday. Under the supposedly revised plan, the Dubai government-owned company will still be unloading a large proportion of its 2.4 million containers each year into North America through its Vancouver, Canada port, according to the BBC --Politex.

Big Bush Lies: How The Bush-Dubai Port Scam Would Work, Simon Romero on Lehrer (PBS)

MARGARET WARNER Senator Warner said, D.P. World will transfer fully the U.S. operations to a United States entity. Now, does that sound like full divestiture of the U.S. portion of this deal?

SIMON ROMERO Well, Margaret, it's very hard to tell at this point, because, you know, there were reports earlier today that were saying that some private equity companies in the United States were interested in bidding for those U.S. assets. But...exactly like the D.P. World statement says, they're not saying that they are selling them. They are simply saying that they are transferring them. So, that could very well mean that they could create a legal entity that is based in the United States, that has American managers, and even an American board of directors, but could still be effectively controlled...by Dubai.

MARGARET WARNER Is there any kind of model for that, that kind of you're -- you are shedding the operations, but you are not completely giving up total control?

SIMON ROMERO It's a strategy that...American companies have often employed in their operations in politically sensitive areas of the world. It's not completely unknown....Halliburton, for example, has done something like this in Iran, where they operated for many years, up until recently. They simply operated those...those Iranian operations out of an offshore entity. And that could be very well...what the Dubai company is planning to do as well....

Of the top eight terminal operations companies in the world that do...this type of work...at big international ports, only one is American. And that company is based out of Seattle. It is called SSA Marine. It is a family-owned company. But it's not nearly of the same scale as...as Dubai Ports World or its competitor in bid...for P&O, which was a company that was controlled by Singapore's government. So...American companies really began ceding...these terminal operations to foreign companies decades ago.

After a new study showed that only one in 1,000 Americans know what the First Amendment is, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “Good, then no one will notice when it’s gone.” --Andy Borowitz

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Thursday, March 9, 2006

Opinion: 'Compromising Americans' civil liberties', Walter C. Brasch

Two weeks before President Bush signed Congressional legislation that made permanent all but two sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, State College, Pa., became the 397th American community to reaffirm the belief that the Constitution and Bill of Rights take precedence over any federal law. Not one of those resolutions should have been necessary. Nor should the legislatures of eight states--Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, and Vermont--have had to pass legislation affirming the rights of all Americans. But they had to, and they did.

Encompassed by a nation in fear and a White House that was willing to exert extraordinary pressure to enact a political agenda, Congress overwhelmingly passed the PATRIOT Act six weeks after 9/11. Most members didn't read any of the 342-page bill, having been given less than 48 hours to do so by the Republican leadership. President Bush had called the Act necessary to defeat the terrorists; Attorney General John Ashcroft had said that anyone not supporting the bill would be aiding the terrorists. There was only one problem in the legislation--it violated six Constitutional amendments. The Act gave wide latitude to the government to search and seize property and to probe sensitive documents, such as medical records, without a court warrant, and to restrict defendants from using the courts to protest the intrusion upon their rights of privacy or even to be allowed to be brought before a court to defend themselves. To mitigate that somewhat inconsequential unconstitutional problem, Congressional leaders inserted a "sunset" clause, calling for 16 of the more controversial 150 sections of the Act to terminate by Dec. 31, 2005.

About two years before the sunset--with the U.S. mired in the Iraq quagmire and Osama bin Laden still running al-Qaeda--the Bush-Cheney Administration began a massive political campaign not only to keep those sections, but also to further restrict human rights. They claimed that because the nation was at war, the Act was essential. While the President falsely claimed the entire PATRIOT Act, not just 16 sections, would cease at the end of the year--and, thus, the terrorists would win--and while most of the nation's mass media failed to point out the President was wrong--the American people had begun to realize that the government's use of the PATRIOT Act didn't result in capturing terrorists as much as it did upon violating Constitutional rights of the innocent.

By now, conservatives and liberals had begun forming alliances to oppose the PATRIOT Act....

--more

Opinion: How Bush, father and son, brought bedlam to Iraq, Chris Floyd

This week, the Washington Post offered a grim overview of Iraq's epidemic of mental disorders, produced by years of war, upheaval and neglect ("Iraq's Crisis of Scarred Psyches," March 6). Of course, much of this psychological damage is the fault of Saddam Hussein and the brutal regime he installed: militarism, tyranny and the gross deceit required to maintain them wreak serious havoc on the human mind, as Americans are coming to know too well. But there is a deeper history behind the unfolding nightmare in Iraq – a method to the induced madness – that is inextricably linked to the political and personal fortunes of two sinister twerps named George Bush.

As historian Roger Morris has usefully reminded us, Saddam's regime was midwifed by not one but two coups supported by the CIA: the first brought the Baathist Party to power, the second, an internal coup, engineered the ascension of Saddam's family-centered faction to the top. It is unlikely that Saddam would have ever been a position to impose his perverted militarist vision on Iraqi society without the assistance of the elitist operatives whose headquarters now proudly bears the name of George Herbert Walker Bush.

Let us also remember that Saddam was sustained in his harsh rule with the eager support of Ronald Reagan and the aforementioned George H.W. Bush. Indeed, the latter's passionate embrace of Saddam seemed to know no bounds, so avidly did Bush ply the dictator with money, agricultural credits (which allowed Saddam to use his scarce hard currency for weapons) and advanced technology – includuing "dual-use" gear for weapons of mass destruction – despite the strong warnings of his own Cabinet against such reckless policies, and a 1989 report by the CIA that Iraq had greatly accelerated its nuclear program, and was now the world's largest maker of chemical weapons.



Bush also used the global criminal network of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) to secretly funnel cash and weaponry to Saddam – then intervened to quash federal investigations of the scam. What was BCCI? Only "one of the largest criminal enterprises in history," according to the United States Senate. What did BCCI do? "It engaged in pandemic bribery of officials in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas," says journalist Christopher Bryon, who first exposed the operation. "It laundered money on a global scale, intimidated witnesses and law officers, engaged in extortion and blackmail. It supplied the financing for illegal arms trafficking and global terrorism. It financed and facilitated income tax evasion, smuggling and prostitution." Sort of an early version of the Bush Regime, then....

--more

We're Watching: Six Political Films

Street Fight, by Marshall Curry
Anytown, U.S.A. (see www.filmmovement.com)
Occupation: Dreamland (see www.occupationdreamland.com)
Jarhead (Universal)
Gunner Palace (Nomados Film)
Lord of War, by Andrew Niccol

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Opinion: Conservatives Are Jumping Ship: Bush Is Going Down, Bernard Weiner

I'm more and more convinced that it will be Republicans, many of them of the true conservative and realist kind, who effectively will do in the Bush Administration. In this, I am reminded of the behavior of Richard Nixon when he realized that he was fast losing his middle-class, bourgeois base: He called it quits on the Vietnam War, and likewise on his presidency after his crimes were exposed.

But unlike Nixon's crew, Bush&Co. seem willing to take the country down with them, so desperate are they to hold onto power, deplete the treasury, pay off their corporate friends, carry out their ideological revolution -- and keep themselves out of the federal slammer. The crimes of the Bush Administration are so many and varied that none of us should be surprised by anything that might happen in the coming weeks and months: Bin Laden captured or reported killed, a U.S.-Israeli air assault on Iran's nuclear facilities, a major terrorist attack inside the U.S. to be followed by martial law, the announcement of a bird-flu outbreak with the military placed in charge. I'm pretty level-headed and don't usually think in these dire terms, but these guys have backed themselves into a tight political corner and are desperate -- and dangerous. [Let's start with] The Imploding Scandals... --more

Parody: Theme From "Dr. Bushlove,"
by Nat Burton and Walter Kent, with changes by Jerry Politex

Theme From "Dr. Bushlove"

"The centerpiece of the Bush trip was a deal to provide India with nuclear fuel and technology, even though this violates the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - and U.S. law." Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer, Mrch 7, 2006

There'll be Bush nukes over
The white cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow
Just you wait and see

Therell be no love or laughter
No peace ever after
Since Bush's
Neocon victory

He'll never forget the Indians he met
When Bush heard their grateful sighs
He'll ignore all as Pak-ranian nukes fall
The light of death in their eyes

And though he'll be far away
Israel will hear him say
Bombs up...
But when the dawn comes...

Therell be Bush nukes over
Our air base at Dover
Tomorrow
Just you wait and see

Therell be no love and laughter
No peace ever after
'Cause Bush
Killed our nuke treaty

Chinese shepherds won't tend their sheep
Russian valleys won't bloom again
But Jebby and Georgie will sleep
With Dick in his shelter when...

Therell be Bush nukes over
The whole world over
Tomorrow
Just you wait and see

Therell be Bush nukes over
The whole world over
Tomorrow
Just you wait and see

--by Nat Burton and Walter Kent, with changes by Jerry Politex, Bush Watch

--more

Quip: Today on C-Span. "President Bush explains to Vastor Holloway III, age 9, how the complete moral and fiscal bankruptcy of the United States of America and the dashing of all the hopes and dreams for peace and prosperty of future generations makes perfect sense." --Mr. Fish

Bush spent over $1/2 Million in taxpayer money today (03/07) to take Air Force One to Texas to vote in the Republican state primaries. ($50,000/hour would be a fair estimate, based on a Seattle P.I. 2004 report, for the plane, security, and staff.) He could have voted absentee (and not have increased the national debt), according to Texas election officials.

Bush elected, shame on him. Bush elected again, shame on us. --Jerry Politex

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

It's The Dollar, Stupid! Bush Explains How He's Screwing The American Worker (excerpts), Paul Krugman

Why doesn't Mr. Bush get any economic respect? I think it's because most Americans sense, correctly, that he doesn't care about people like them. We're living in a time when many Americans are feeling economically insecure, but a tiny elite has been growing incredibly rich. And Mr. Bush's problem is that he identifies so totally with the lucky, wealthy few that in unscripted settings he can't manage even a few sentences of empathy with ordinary Americans. He doesn't feel your pain, and it shows.

Here's what Mr. Bush said in India, when someone raised the question of the political backlash against outsourcing: "Losing jobs is painful, so let's make sure people are educated so they can find — fill the jobs of the 21st century. And let's make sure that there's pro-growth economic policies in place. What does that mean? That means low taxes; it means less regulation; it means fewer lawsuits; it means wise energy policy."... When Business Week put together a list of areas "where India has made an impact ... and where it's going next," that list consisted almost entirely of high-technology activities like software and chip design. What this means is that American workers whose jobs are threatened by Indian competition are, in many cases, people who thought they already had acquired the skills to "fill the jobs of the 21st century" — but have just discovered that Indians, who are paid about a tenth as much, also have those skills....

The fact is that we're living in a time when most Americans are seeing little if any benefit from overall income growth, because their share of the economic pie is falling. Between 1979 and 2003, according to a recent research paper published by the I.R.S., the share of overall income received by the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers fell from 50 percent to barely over 40 percent. The main winners from this upward redistribution of income were a tiny, wealthy elite: more than half the income share lost by the bottom 80 percent was gained by just one-fourth of 1 percent of the population, people with incomes of at least $750,000 in 2003. And those fortunate few are the only people Mr. Bush seems to care about.

--more

Nazi Watch: Ohio Candidate For U.S. Senate Seat Running On Death To Homosexuals Platform, WTOL News

Parody: Penguin Protests Bush "Invasion of Privacy" at Oscar Awards, Jerry Politex

Hollywood, March 6, 2006-- Despite the efforts of organizers, the specter of widespread sentiment aginst President Bush's illegal spying on U.S. citizens hung over the 78th Academy Awards ceremony last night. Representatives of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences had made clear beforehand that they would provide as little opportunity as possible for expressions of opposition to Bush's illegal war on citizen privacy. In the end, a documentary filmmaker again proved recalcitrant.

In an effort not to have a repeat of the awkwardness caused by director Michael Moore when he accepted the awrd for outstanding documentary in 2003 for "Bowling for Columbine," in recent years the Academy has "gerrymandered" eligibility rules in the documentary category, critics say. However, the Academy's best laid plans came to naught. The most outspoken critic of the war on privacy and the Bush administration turned out to be Packy the Penguin, star of director Jean Valjean's "Penguins on the March," who accepted the award last night for best documentary on behalf of Mr. Valjean, who was unable to attend. Mr. Packy's remarks, for which he has inevitably come under attack in the mass media (Tom Shingles of the Washington Post called it “one of the worst Oscar speeches” ever), were the highlight of the evening.

After accepting on behalf of himself and his director, the formally-dressed star explained: “I have invited my fellow documentarians on the stage with us ... They’re here in solidarity with me because we like privacy. We like privacy and we live in times when the President of the United States has his eyeball on the keyholes of our igloos. We live in a time when we are forced to document fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president who spies on us for fictitious reasons. Whether it’s the fiction of herring shortages or the fiction of casually-dressed penguins, we are against this war on our privacy, man or penguin. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And, in my case, any time you’ve got the head of the Maritime Union and Danny DeVito against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.”

Mr. Packy’s last sentences were drowned out as the program’s producers cued the orchestra and he was essentially cut off. By this time there were a number of audience members loudly booing, as well as some cheering. Backstage after the event Mr. Packy was asked about what set him off, and he pointed to a recent report in Capital Hill Blue about reporters being investigated for writing unfavorable stories: "Using many of the questionable surveillance and monitoring techniques that brought both questions and criticism to his administration, President George W. Bush has launched a war against reporters who write stories unfavorable to his actions and is planning to prosecute journalists to make examples of them in his 'war on terrorism.' Bush recently directed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to use 'whatever means at your disposal' to wiretap, follow, harass and investigate journalists who have published stories about the administration's illegal use of warrantless wiretaps, use of faulty intelligence and anything else he deems 'detrimental to the war on terror.'"

Mr. Gil Gravitas, the Academy's chrirman of the documentary division, later said, "the academy's board of governors is presently considering eliminating the short-documentary category altogether and banishing documentary features to the science and technical awards, which are presented in a separate ceremony by a designated bimbo." --thanks, wsws

Oscar Quips: Jon Stewart Looks At World Through Film

One of the telecast's 22 cameras isolated Steven Spielberg as Stewart talked about the nominated Munich and the director's 1993 Schindler's List.

"I think I speak for all Jews when I say I can't wait to see what happens to us next," Stewart said, the deadpan quip triggering a huge laugh.

The political baiting was kept to a minimum during the monologue, save for a joke involving Bjork, the singer who famously wore a swan dress to the Oscars in 2001. Explaining her absence this year, Stewart said: "She was trying on her Oscar dress and Dick Cheney shot her."

Taking a look at the giant Oscar statuette as part of the set, he asked: "Do you think if we all got together and pulled this down, democracy would flourish in Hollywood?"

"And none of those issues were ever a problem again," [Stewart] deadpanned after a montage of issue-oriented movies like "Silkwood," "The Grapes of Wrath" and "In the Heat of the Night."

On comparing "Capote" and "Good Night, and Good Luck": "Both films are about determined journalists defying obstacles in a relentless pursuit of the truth. Needless to say, both are period pieces."

On best picture nominees: "They deal with racism, corruption, terrorism and censorship. It's why we go to the movies. To escape."

And his best joke of the night, because it was so true: "A lot of people say that this town is too liberal. Out of touch with mainstream America. An atheistic pleasure dome. A modern-day beachfront Sodom and Gomorrah. A moral black hole where innocence is obliterated in an orgy of sexual gratification and greed. (Pause) "I don't really have a joke here, I just thought you should know a lot of people are saying that."

--more, more,more

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Monday, March 6, 2006

Bush Ignores Nuke Treaty: With Three Years To Go, How Else Can Bush Screw The World? (excerpt), Bob Herbert

The times have changed and reality isn't what it used to be. As the [Bush] adviser explained, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." This mad-hatter thinking was on display again last week. President Bush, who used specious claims about a nuclear threat to launch his disastrous war in Iraq, agreed to a deal — in blatant violation of international accords and several decades of bipartisan U.S. policy — that would enable India to double or triple its annual production of nuclear weapons. The president turned his back on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (dismissed, like reality-based thinking, as passé) and moved the world a step closer to an accelerated nuclear arms race in Asia and elsewhere. In the president's empire-based, otherworldly way of thinking, this was a good thing.

For decades, U.S. law and the provisions of the nonproliferation treaty have precluded the sale of nuclear fuel and reactor components to India, which has acquired an atomic arsenal and has refused to sign the treaty. President Bush turned that policy upside down last week, agreeing to share nuclear energy technology with India, even as it continues to develop nuclear weapons in a program that is shielded from international inspectors. The attempt to stop the spread of nuclear weapons beyond the five original members of the so-called nuclear club — the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China — has not been perfect by any means. But it hasn't been bad. Back in the 1960's there was a fear that before long there might be dozens of additional states with nuclear weapons. But so far the spread has been held to four — Israel, India, Pakistan and most likely North Korea. A cornerstone of the nonproliferation strategy has been the refusal to share nuclear energy technology with nations unwilling to abide by the provisions of the nonproliferation treaty. Last week George W. Bush decided he would change all that by carving out an exception for India.

Presidents from both parties — from Richard Nixon through Bill Clinton — had refused to make this deal, which India has wanted for more than three decades. "It's a terrible deal, a disaster," said Joseph Cirincione, the director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment. "The Indians are free to make as much nuclear material as they want. Meanwhile, we're going to sell them fuel for their civilian reactors. That frees up their resources for the military side, and that stinks." With President Bush undermining the nonproliferation treaty, critics are worried that it's only a matter of time before other bilateral deals are made — say, China with Pakistan, which has already asked Mr. Bush for a deal similar to India's and been turned down.

"We can't break the rules for India and then expect other countries to play by them," said Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who is one of the leading opponents of the deal, which will require Congressional approval.

--more

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: How Bush's Global Economy Is Screwing The Average American (excerpts), Michael Hirsh

In the last quarter-century or so..., capital has left labor behind to choke in the dust...Jeff Faux argues in "The Global Class War," a...book that characterizes the present era as a struggle between a "global governing class" and everybody else. Faux is clearly correct that the balance of power between labor and capital has shifted dramatically. Today, investment capital moves at blinding speed, while labor still must go by boat, train and plane — and that's if it's lucky. With much tougher immigration restrictions than existed a century ago, labor is more often confined to its home markets, waiting anxiously to see if globe-hopping capital deigns to come its way.

The growing power of capital explains many of the economic stories of our day: why Wall Street has the whip hand over corporate performance; why the gap between executive and worker pay has widened to record levels; why even incompetent executives enjoy golden parachutes while high-performing employees can be laid off without apology. It also explains why the American labor movement is a pitiful shadow of its former self, the victim of a "China price" set half a world away by a seemingly limitless supply of cheap labor. Most disturbing of all, Faux argues, this imbalance is largely America's own doing. And if we don't change, he says, it could well be our undoing....

Egged on by feckless Washington policy makers, [Faux] says, Americans are living in a dream world of rampant consumerism subsidized by foreigners' willingness to invest in an overvalued dollar. Faux argues that the United States cannot go on being the world's dominant power when its unprotected, relatively less-educated labor force can no longer produce export surpluses in any sector, even high-tech. Instead, in a power shift brokered by a class of multinational investors loyal only to themselves, we are handing off our wealth, and our superpowerhood, to China and other nations. At some point the vast financial and trade imbalances between America and Asia will reach a crisis, Faux warns, with the dollar collapsing, prices spiking and American living standards falling. Ultimately Americans will ask: "Why should we pay to defend people who are richer than we are?" And then there goes the American-led world order.

--more

Quotes and Paraphrases: The reason Bush talks to Americans as though they are idiots is "that's the way it's been explained to him....If you took away someone from America in 2000 and brought them back today, they wouldn't recognize this country."...And more devastation has been caused since 9/11. --Graydon Carter, "Vanity Fair" Editor, on Bill Maher

Bush thinks history will vindicate him because his people are going into the National Archives and reclassifying public historical documents as classified secrets. --Dana Priest, Washington Post, on Bill Maher

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Sunday, March 5, 2006

"Why We Fight": Ike Warned Us, But We Didn't Listen (excerpts), Bob Herbert

...The way you keep the wars coming is to keep the populace in a state of perpetual fear. That allows you to continue the insane feeding of the military-industrial complex at the expense of the rest of the nation's needs. "Before long," said Mr. Jarecki in an interview, "the military ends up so overempowered that the rest of your national life has been allowed to atrophy." In one of the great deceptive maneuvers in U.S. history, the military-industrial complex (with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as chairman and C.E.O., respectively) took its eye off the real enemy in Afghanistan and launched the pointless but far more remunerative war in Iraq.

If you want to get a chill, just consider the tragic chaos in present-day Iraq (seven G.I.'s were killed on the day I went to see "Why We Fight") and then listen to Susan Eisenhower in the film recalling a quotation attributed to her grandfather: "God help this country when somebody sits at this desk who doesn't know as much about the military as I do." The military-industrial complex has become so pervasive that it is now, as one of the figures in the movie notes, all but invisible. Its missions and priorities are poorly understood by most Americans, and frequently counter to their interests.

Near the end of the movie, Mr. Sekzer, the New York cop who lost his son on Sept. 11, describes his reaction to President Bush's belated acknowledgment that "we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved" in the Sept. 11 attacks. "What the hell did we go in there for?" Mr. Sekzer asks. Unable to hide his bitterness, he says: "The government exploited my feelings of patriotism, of a deep desire for revenge for what happened to my son. But I was so insane with wanting to get even, I was willing to believe anything."

--more

"Why We Fight: Why Oscar Fought "Why We Fight." Jerry Politex

It's just a question, but it's a question worth asking, since we saw the excellent documentary "Why We Fight" (trailer) and read "The Oscar Nominees Aren't,,," in the NYT yesterday, explaining why Hollywood rules keep it from being considered for an Oscar. It appears that what's happening in Hollywood is that the Academy keeps changing its rules to keep out documentary films that, in one way or another, oppose the policies of the Bush administration. As the NYT online teaser to the article words it, " Some great documentaries are ineligible for Oscars. Why? It's all in the fine print." "To be considered for an Oscar...a documentary must have made its debut in theaters and played for at least a week in New York or Los Angeles, and films that appeared only on television - or even those that appeared on television before moving to theaters - are disqualified," explains reporter John Anderson." But the fine print keeps changing to thwart, among others, those cash-strapped, anti-establishment docs, who try to follow Hollywood's industrial rules, only to find the rules have been changed.

"Last year, "Control Room," in which Jehane Noujaim examined American and Arab news coverage in the opening stages of the Iraq War, was...shut out," continues Anderson, "even though it was shelved by its producers for six months before being shown on European television; in the interim the required blackout period had been extended to nine months. That rule has since been eliminated. But it doesn't help "Why We Fight". "The director of "Why We Fight," which opened on Jan. 20, Mr. Jarecki has produced an ambitious treatise on the American military-industrial complex, the philosophy of perpetual war and the prescience of Dwight D. Eisenhower. It won him the prize for best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival last January - just as the documentary branch announced another set of rule changes.

"Ms. Mock [,head of the Academy's documentary division,] said in an academy press release that "films with a true theatrical rollout would be 'exempt' - in quotes - from the television blackout provision," said Mr. Jarecki, whose previous documentary was "The Trials of Henry Kissinger." Mr. Jarecki's legal counsel, John Sloss; members of the Sundance Institute; and executives at the BBC concluded that the academy had at last recognized that a television debut is sometimes a financial necessity for documentaries. Mr. Jarecki allowed "Why We Fight" to be shown on British television. "But according to the academy..., the film violated the broadcast ban. "We were informed that these clauses had been dropped," he said. "Had we known that the rules had retained some obligation to show first in a cinema in America, we would have rescheduled our screening."

At best, one could believe that the Oscar rulemakers are simply incompetent, or perhaps even biased toward certain kinds of documentary content, as Anderson implies elsewhere in his article, but in the same piece we learn that "at one point the academy's board of governors wanted to eliminate the short-documentary category altogether and banish documentary features to the science and technical awards, which are presented in a separate ceremony." Hollywood would look pretty silly doing so, given how closely the documentary film is woven into the fabric of film history and aesthetics, but this would not be the first time that Hollywood caved in to Washington. The bottom line is the Academy was put on the spot, politically, when Michael Moore won an Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine," and was cut off during his short but political acceptance speech amidst both cheers and boos, and what we're seeing now are attempts to prevent such an event from happening again. Given what we have learned over the years about Bush news management and propaganda, a White House hand in Hollywood is hardly out of the question.

Sunday Funnies: Fiore, Tomorrow, Sutton, Bell


The Thriving Business of Long War Inc. Putting the pro back into war profiteering! (By Mark Fiore)
See a Conservative's World With Red State Spex! (By Tom Tomorrow)
Bush's Expanded Presidential Powers (By Ward Sutton)
Bush's Visit To India: "Me Cowboy, You Injuns" (By Steve Bell)

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Saturday, March 4, 2006

God in My Pocket: Bush and Blair Say God Made Them Do It, Christine Tomlinson, Publisher, Bush Watch (www.bushwatch.com)

So I open the New York TImes this morning and see "Blair Invokes God in Decision to Send British Troops to Iraq." Remembering back to 2003 we have Bush saying "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did."

So Mr Blair and Mr Bush, I ask:

"Why should innocent people die because of your expectation that both history and your god will judge you well? We are all living here now with the consequences of the voices that you hear that claim to be the god of your countrymen. How do we know that you’re really tuned in to him and that it’s not just your own private way of rationalizing the decisions that you make? I doubt if most people think they were voting for a divine oracle during the elections. We want our leaders to be guided by a transparent moral sense, an ethical framework that we can trust but verify, not some capricious acts taken on faith."

Are we living within a mass psychosis, a delusional net that grips the spirit of our countries and rains down death and destruction, minute by minute? Are we spending our days foraging and screwing and in the end carping and biting because the world doesn’t look like we want it? Who was it who said, "Behave damn you!" Oh yes, it was B.F. Skinner. Now there’s one sick puppy. His problem, as he explained it in a Time magazine article from 1971, was:

"I've had only one idea in my life - a true idee fixe. To put it as bluntly as possible - the idea of having my own way. 'Control!' expresses it. The control of human behavior."

Now this is really what’s happening with these guys who are in positions of leadership in our countries. They’re frustrated by the lack of control. Things just don’t go the way they’re supposed to, according to the voices in their heads.

It sure looks to me like we're being led by little minds thinking that they can actually control around six billion people and make them do what they want and satisfy whatever needs they have -- like self esteem and wealth. This is bankrupt. This is dysfunctional. This is sick. How many of our countrymen believe this crap? And are the rest of us just meat in the market, barely more than cattle to the slaughter?

Foreign Affairs: Iraq: The Grand Delusion, Stephen Biddle

Contentious as the current debate over Iraq is, all sides seem to make the crucial assumption that to succeed there the United States must fight the Vietnam War again -- but this time the right way. The Bush administration is relying on an updated playbook from the Nixon administration. Pro-war commentators argue that Washington should switch to a defensive approach to counterinsurgency, which they feel might have worked wonders a generation ago. According to the antiwar movement, the struggle is already over, because, as it did in Vietnam, Washington has lost hearts and minds in Iraq, and so the United States should withdraw.

But if the debate in Washington is Vietnam redux, the war in Iraq is not. The current struggle is not a Maoist "people's war" of national liberation; it is a communal civil war with very different dynamics. Although it is being fought at low intensity for now, it could easily escalate if Americans and Iraqis make the wrong choices.

Unfortunately, many of the policies dominating the debate are ill adapted to the war being fought. Turning over the responsibility for fighting the insurgents to local forces, in particular, is likely to make matters worse. Such a policy might have made sense in Vietnam, but in Iraq it threatens to exacerbate the communal tensions that underlie the conflict and undermine the power-sharing negotiations needed to end it. Washington must stop shifting the responsibility for the country's security to others and instead threaten to manipulate the military balance of power among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds in order to force them to come to a durable compromise. Only once an agreement is reached should Washington consider devolving significant military power and authority to local forces.

--more

Voters Disgusted: 92% Believe Washington Puts Politics Over National Good, Amanda Lang

George Washington University has released its Battleground 2006 Poll findings and the results reflect an ever increasing anti-Washington mood.  The data shows that both Democrats and Republicans have lost the trust of broad segments of the American electorate.  The party best able to translate these negative feelings into policy reforms stands the best chance at the polls.

  GWU Battleground Poll findings:

Of the leaders tested in this latest GW-Battleground Poll, the image of both President George W. Bush (45% favorable/53% unfavorable) and Vice President Dick Cheney (42% favorable/51% unfavorable) are net negative. Equally negative are the image ratings of Democratic leaders like frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination Sen. Hillary Clinton (45% favorable/51% unfavorable) and Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean (31% favorable/45% unfavorable). Of all the Washington leaders examined, only Sen. John McCain (65% favorable/18% unfavorable) has chiseled out a positive "bi-partisan" image with the American electorate.

  On the issue of congressional reform and lobbying reform, every reform tested, with one exception, has the support of at least two-thirds of the likely electorate. This includes diverse proposals like greater disclosure by lobbyists about their work and their level of congressional contacts (87% support), greater disclosure by members of Congress about their contact with lobbyists and about campaign contributions from lobbyists (86%), a broader gift ban (79% support), greater transparency on congressional pay raises (76%), increasing the lobbying ban on former members to two years (75%), changing the contribution limits on PACs and individuals (73%), banning lobbying on the floor of the House and in the House gym (67%), a broader travel ban (67%), and ending earmarks (59%).

  The anti-Washington mood is especially evident when respondents are asked to choose which party is most at fault for the current state of affairs.  64% of voters polled believe both parties are equally responsible for the current problems facing Congress.  92% of voters who want Congress to find practical, workable solutions to the nation's ills believe that Washington puts partisan politics before the good of the electorate.  With the leaders of both parties suffering from this negative public perception, third party grassroots candidates and movements have a unique opportunity present viable political alternatives.  Regardless, the old guard has been warned.

 

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Friday, March 3, 2006

Letter to Thom Hartman: Escape the Matrix: Impeach Bush Now, Christine Tomlinson

You have consistently made the case that:

1) Bush stole both of the 2000 and 2004 elections;

2) Bush lied to the population of the country and the world at large in order to provide cover for his administration's forgone illegal invasion of Iraq;

3) subterfuge and collusion have wrapped the government of this country in a democratic facade overlying an entrenched facist/oligarchic government, and this process started from the inception of the country - Mssrs Jefferson, Madison up to Eisenhower have so warned long and loud;

4) in relation to 1) above you have publicized the findings of Bev Harris, Wasserman and so on that indicate that virtually no electronic voting machine is operated in a fair and balanced manner so as to actually ensure that when a citizen casts a vote the vote is actually counted as entered.

Given these unarguable points, it should be clear that the only viable response can be to demand that the current Congress impeach and convict Bush and company; anything less simply participates in enabling the current national dysfunction which in part depends on the illusion of democracy.

By all rights, Bush and his associates should be indicted and prosecuted in the World Court for war crimes. We the people of the United States have an obligation to our brothers and sisters across the planet to bring down this government and work to reconstitute a government that can genuinely be held up to all as an inspiration for how persons can live together in such a way as to promote the flourishing of each and every person.

That Garrison Keillor has called for the impeachment and conviction of Bush and Cheney [see below] is an important event in our society, as you have observed, and this event can be seen as a spark that you can help to ignite into a full fledged blaze. We must speak as one voice to consistently demand that the Congress fulfill its obligation to the country and impeach and convict Bush and company.

The call should be made now, not waiting for when and if Democrats take over the House and Senate. We simply must, as the governed, demand that the government respond in accordance with the rule of law. Such demands must be made consistently day after day by all available voices. Impeachment and conviction is the only means available to us within the rule of law to demonstrate that our system of government is capable of actually holding persons such as Bush accountable for abusing the trust of the governed.

Failing that, we the people must be mobilized to enact our dis-consent of the government as currently constituted.

You and the very few of your progressive peers who have broadcast voices have an obligation to the citizenry of the country and the world at large to encourage meaningful resistance and yes, rebellion.

Peaceful resistance must be encouraged. Days of national strikes must be called for. We must cease to support the government by tacit approval demonstrated by simply continuing to behave as though the illusion of democracy is real.

It may already be too late to resist the power of today's technology to ensure that corporate interests are able to completely control the populace, but, as you say, your show is the pill that can help us to escape the matrix.

Respectfully,
Chris Tomlinson

Impeach Bush: What to Do When the Emperor Has No Clothes, Garrison Keillor

These are troubling times for all of us who love this country, as surely we all do, even the satirists. You may poke fun at your mother, but if she is belittled by others it burns your bacon. A blowhard French journalist writes a book about America that is full of arrogant stupidity, and you want to let the air out of him and mail him home flat. And then you read the paper and realize the country is led by a man who isn't paying attention, and you hope that somebody will poke him. Or put a sign on his desk that says, "Try much harder."

Do we need to impeach him to bring some focus to this man's life?...

--more

Bush Incompetence: The Typical Bush Pattern Of Screwing Up (excerpts), Paul Krugman

Iraqi insurgents, hurricanes and low-income Medicare recipients have three things in common. Each has been at the center of a policy disaster. In each case experts warned about the impending disaster. And in each case — well, let's look at what happened....

The new Medicare drug program got off to a disastrous start: "Low-income Medicare beneficiaries around the country were often overcharged, and some were turned away from pharmacies without getting their medications, in the first week of Medicare's new drug benefit," The New York Times reported. How did this happen? The same way the other disasters happened: experts who warned of trouble ahead were told to shut up.

We can get a sense of what went on by looking at a 2005 report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on potential problems with the drug program. Included with the report is a letter from Mark McClellan, the Medicare administrator. Rather than taking the concerns of the G.A.O. seriously, he tried to bully it into changing its conclusions. He demanded that the report say that the administration had "established effective contingency plans" — which it hadn't — and that it drop the assertion that some people would encounter difficulties obtaining necessary drugs, which is exactly what happened. Experts within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must have faced similar bullying....

In short, our country is being run by people who assume that things will turn out the way they want. And if someone warns of problems, they shoot the messenger.

--more

BREAKING NEWS, 1626: Indians Trade Manhattan Island to Settlers for Cloth and Buttons

BREAKING NEWS, 2006: Bush Trades Fruits of "MANHATTAN PROJECT" to Indians for Mangos: "The United States is looking forward to eating Indian mangos."
George W. Bush's explanation of what the U.S. got out of the U.S.-India Nuke Deal, March 2, 2006

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Thursday, March 2, 2006

American Gulag: Son of Guantanamo, William Fisher

Legal, diplomatic, religious and human rights authorities are struggling to be heard on what many consider to be the "Son of Guantánamo" -- a secret prison in Afghanistan where the U.S. military is said to have been holding some 500 "enemy combatants" for as long as three or four years without access to lawyers.The existence of the prison, located at Bagram airbase near Kabul, was reported last week by The New York Times. But the story was quickly relegated to back pages by the revelation that Dubai Ports World (DPW), a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, was about to take over the management of as many as six major U.S. seaports.

  On the Bagram prison issue, the views of David Cole, one of America’s foremost authorities on constitutional law, are typical of reactions obtained by us. Cole, a professor at Georgetown University law school in Washington, said, “The Bagram story raises serious questions about the Bush administration's unwillingness to be bound by law.  The administration chose Guantanamo in the first place because it thought it was a law-free zone.  Now that the Supreme Court has said that the administration is actually accountable to legal limits at Guantanamo, it is turning to other avenues to avoid accountability.  The only real solution is to conform its conduct to the law, not to continue to evade legal responsibility for its actions.”

  Times reporters Tim Golden and Eric Schmitt, who broke the Bagram story, wrote, “Some administration officials acknowledge that the situation at Bagram has increasingly come to resemble the legal void that led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling in June 2004 affirming the right of prisoners at Guantánamo to challenge their detention in United States courts.” They added...

--more

Big Bush Lies: Bush On Video: He WAS Told About Anticipated Breach Of NO Levees, AP

Four days after Hurricane Katrina hit, President George W. Bush declared, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" in New Orleans. But video of pre-storm briefings, and transcripts of those briefings, reveal that there was, in fact, plenty of talk about that possibility. And Bush [and Chertoff were] among those who were worried about it. The video and the transcripts have been obtained by The Associated Press.They reveal that a top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about whether the levees would withstand the powerful storm. --AP

Homeland Security officials have said the "fog of war" blinded them early on to the magnitude of the disaster. But the video and transcripts show federal and local officials discussed threats clearly, reviewed long-made plans and understood Katrina would wreak devastation of historic proportions....Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility - and Bush was worried too. --Canadian Press

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he was shocked by a video showing US President George W Bush being told the day before Hurricane Katrina hit that the city's protective levees could fail. The tape contradicts the president's statement four days after the hurricane struck: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." "It surprises me that if there was that kind of awareness, why was the response so slow?" said Nagin, whose city was devastated when the storm struck on August 29 and sparked massive flooding. "I have kind of a sinking feeling right now in my gut. I mean, I was listening to what people were saying and I was believing them that they didn't know. So therefore it was an issue of a learning curve. "From this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware." --Sidney Morning Herald

--video...

Port Ownership: 24 of 25 Major U.S. Ports Owned By Foreign Firms, Half By Foreign Governments, Hardball

24 of the U.S. top 25 ports are being run by foreign firms, many of which are owned, at least in parts, by foreign governments. China owns the largest port in California at Long Beach, Saudi Arabia and Dubai own over half of the rest. --MSNBC's Hardball, March 1, 2006. Is that why only a few shipments into the U.S. are checked? --Politex. While Hong Kong checks 100% of its shipments into the country, the U.S. checks less than five. --Pelosi --transcript

Port Ownership: Panama Canal Controlled By Chinese Firm Partly Owned By Chinese Government, Lou Dobbs

A Hong Kong company owned in part by the Chinese government controls both ends of the Panama Canal...Viewers question the U.S. government probe of the Dubai deal because Bush has promised to go through with the deal no matter what the probe finds, and it's the Bush administration that's carrying out the probe...If Bush knew nothing about the port deal between Dubai and the U.S., why did he immediately say the deal must go through when he found out? --transcript

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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: When Americans No Longer Own America, Thom Hartman

The old concept was that if there was a dollar's worth of labor in a pair of shoes made in the USA, and somebody wanted to import shoes from China where there may only be ten cents worth of labor in those shoes, we'd level the playing field for labor by putting a 90-cent import tariff on each pair of shoes. Companies could choose to make their products here or overseas, but the ultimate cost of labor would be the same.

Then came the flat-worlders, led by misguided true believers and promoted by multinational corporations. Do away with those tariffs, they said, because they "restrain trade." Let everything in, and tax nothing. The result has been an explosion of cheap goods coming into our nation, and the loss of millions of good manufacturing jobs and thousands of manufacturing companies. Entire industry sectors have been wiped out.

These policies have kneecapped the American middle class. Our nation's largest employer has gone from being the unionized General Motors to the poverty-wages Wal-Mart. Americans have gone from having a net savings rate around 10 percent in the 1970s to a minus .5 percent in 2005 - meaning that they're going into debt or selling off their assets just to maintain their lifestyle.

At the same time, federal policy has been to do the same thing at a national level. Because our so-called "free trade" policies have left us with an over $700 billion annual trade deficit, other countries are sitting on huge piles of the dollars we gave them to buy their stuff (via Wal-Mart and other "low cost" retailers). But we no longer manufacture anything they want to buy with those dollars.

So instead of buying our manufactured goods, they are doing what we used to do with Third World nations - they are buying us, the USA, chunk by chunk. In particular, they want to buy things in America that will continue to produce profits, and then to take those profits overseas where they're invested to make other nations strong. The "things" they're buying are, by and large, corporations, utilities, and natural resources.

Back in the pre-Reagan days, American companies made profits that were distributed among Americans. They used their profits to build more factories, or diversify into other businesses. The profits stayed in America.

Today, foreigners awash with our consumer dollars are on a two-decades-long buying spree. The UK's BP bought Amoco for $48 billion - now Amoco's profits go to England. Deutsche Telekom bought VoiceStream Wireless, so their profits go to Germany, which is where most of the profits from Random House, Allied Signal, Chrysler, Doubleday, Cyprus Amax's US Coal Mining Operations, GTE/Sylvania, and Westinghouse's Power Generation profits go as well. Ralston Purina's profits go to Switzerland, along with Gerber's; TransAmerica's profits go to The Netherlands, while John Hancock Insurance's profits go to Canada. Even American Bankers Insurance Group is owned now by Fortis AG in Belgium.

Foreign companies are buying up our water systems, our power generating systems, our mines, and our few remaining factories. All because "flat world" so-called "free trade" policies have turned us from a nation of wealthy producers into a nation of indebted consumers, leaving the world awash in dollars that are most easily used to buy off big chunks of America. As www.economyincrisis.com notes, US Government statistics indicate the following percentages of foreign ownership of American industry:

--more...

It's The Dollar, Stupid!: U.S. Based Multinational Corporations Say, "What, We Worry?" Robert Samuelson

We may be close to a critical economic juncture. It's the moment when America's frenzied consumers relinquish their role as "locomotive" for the rest of the world. All that spending and borrowing have juiced the U.S. economy and, through swelling trade deficits, the global economy. We know this buying binge can't continue forever. Families and nations can't indefinitely overspend their incomes by ever-increasing amounts. Spending and income must ultimately move closer together, not farther apart....

Among today's economic worries is how to deal with massive global trade imbalances: U.S. deficits and big surpluses elsewhere. One possible answer is that other trading countries cure themselves of their American addiction. As people grow richer, their wants multiply. Industry looks more to meeting their demands than to generating ever-larger trade surpluses. The expansion of consumer credit (which is still tiny compared with that of the United States) encourages the process. People can move spending forward rather than saving for every big purchase. From 1997 to 2005, China's economy grew about 10 percent a year, but consumption grew only 6 percent annually; Global Insight predicts the gap will close.

Many multinational companies may help bring it about. Their investments in emerging markets increasingly focus on serving high-wage consumers as opposed to creating low-wage export platforms. In 2006 Wal-Mart plans to open about 40 percent of its new stores outside the United States. Procter & Gamble has almost a quarter of its sales in developing countries. Citigroup is reportedly negotiating for a stake in a Chinese bank from which it would presumably expand consumer loans. Already its personal financial business (mortgages and unsecured personal loans) in Asia outside Japan grew 50 percent last year.... --more...

Parody: Addicted To Oil, by Robert Palmer, Jerry Politex

Your lights are on, Bush, but you're not home
Cheney's mind is like your own
Your heart sweats, his body shakes
A Big Oil fix is what it takes
Dick can't sleep, you can't eat
There's no doubt, you're both in deep
Your throat is tight, Dick can't breathe
A Big Oil fix you both need

Whoa, you like to lie that you're immune to the stuff,
It's closer to the truth to say you both can't get enough
You know you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to oil

You see the signs, you both can't read
You're runnin' at a different speed
Your hearts beat in double time
Big Oil Says, "You both are mine!"
You and Dick, you can't be saved
Another mil is all you crave
If there's more dough left for you
You don't mind if you do

Whoa, you like to lie that you're immune to the stuff,
It's closer to the truth to say you both can't get enough
You know you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to oil

Might as well face it, you're addicted to oil
Might as well face it, you're addicted to oil
Might as well face it, you're addicted to oil
Might as well face it, you're addicted to oil
Might as well face it, you're addicted to oil

--by Robert Palmer, with changes by Jerry Politex

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