March 30, 2008

McCain: Flip-Flopper

Everyone, except corporate media executives, know McCain is a flip-flopper. Do you think the establishment media will ever catch on?

A few examples without commentary, 'cuz I'd probably just be telling you what you already know.

Immigration Reform

Permanent Tax Breaks for the Wealth

Torture Prohibitions

Association with Religious "Agents of Intolerance"

Bob Jones University

For/against Ethanol

Abortion: For/against Roe v Wade

State Promotion of Confederate Flag

Gay Marriage

Sam and Charles Wyly: Were slimy, now supporters

creationism in the classroom: Not OK, IS OK

Being a moderate (actually never was)

Being a straight-talker (not any more)

Is Terry Nelson a flip-flop or just evidence that McCain ISN'T a straight talker? *shrug*?


Not the corporate media. Carpetbagger Report,


March 25, 2008

Movie Recommendations

This just in from a contributing writer...

2 movies I want to recommend:

Metropolis(1927), Fritz Lang's recently restored masterpiece pits the workers against the aristocracy. Workers, underground, are consumed by the machinery they toil over to make life wonderful for those who live above ground. Prescient northern/southern hemisphere comment? Who knew silent films could be so passionate?

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) This one is a bit hard to follow &
I believe a real oiling of the right brain would help one enjoy this
to its fullest capacity, but it takes you down the rabbit hole and
doesn't let you out!! How come they could do that in 1919 without any
computers or special effects?? It's like living in a Dr. Suess
book. In fact, I began to wonder if Theodor Geisel had seen this
movie before writing his many classics.

March 21, 2008

Pew Credibility Problem

OK, maybe my mainstream brain washing is evident when I admit that I assumed the Pew Research Center did respectable work. I recently came across the Pew Global Attitudes Project when researching the US favourability rating.

They had a survey that seemed reasonable to me. But before citing the work, holding to journalistic principles, I checked the source a bit more closely. The note I wrote to Pew, below, tells the rest:

I was about to cite one of your studies in an essay, but as I read the titles of your studies, I got a funny feeling. I sensed an establishment bias.

So I looked more closely and came to realize that Madeline Albright is involved. You should be aware that her lack of credibility is undermining the Pew's work.

Although anecdotal, her involvement with the Carlyle Group and her statement that the death of tens of thousands of Iraqi children due to the economic sanctions was justified undermine her legitimacy as an unbiased voice.

Carlyle Example

So, if Pew thinks having Albright's name associated with its surveys lends credibility, you might reconsider that perspective.

March 19, 2008

How Bush Started the Iraq War

Most of us believe that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) served as Bush's lynch pin for starting the war with Iraq five years ago today (March 20 in Iraq). But Bush used a different criterion to trigger the war.

The context to Bush's ultimate trigger was that the WMD inspections were going well, unless like Bush you wanted to use WMDs as the excuse for starting a war. 731 inspections between November 2002 and March 2003 had found nothing, despite using intelligence from the US. As an aside, this puts the lie to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's claim that....

We know where they are (Iraq's WMD). They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.

On March 7, 2003, Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector in Iraq, told the UN Security Council that his inspectors faced "relatively few difficulties," and

at this juncture are able to perform professional, no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.

Asked how long it would take to address the remaining issues, Blix said it:

will not take years, nor weeks, but months.

Bush's excuse for starting the Iraq war, disarming Saddam Hussein, was seriously threatened. He had to come up with a guarantee to ensure he could have his war. At the 11th hour Bush changed his criterion for triggering a war. On March 17, 2003 Bush gave an ultimatum that he knew Hussein would not accept:

Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict.

There you have it. Bush's final excuse for starting a war of agression was that Hussein and his sons would not leave Iraq upon his demand.


1. Interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News This Week, March 30, 2003.

Vincent Buliosi, The Prosecution of George Bush for Murder. See pages 130-135 for more on this.


March 18, 2008

Obama Fingers the Corporate Villain

Recently I've been thinking of casting a protest vote against Obama, assuming he wins the Democratic nomination. First, he and Clinton have been pathetic in the face of Israel's collective punishment and disproportionate use of force in the Gaza strip. Second was the way he denounced pastor Jeremiah Wright's for his honest, albeit politically incorrect, statements about "damning" the US for it's imperial adventures through out history - .

But Obama has made a "come back" speech. It's summed up in an Associated Press article:
Most of the speech was fairly high-minded, with few if overt appeals for votes. Obama doubtlessly raised eyebrows in many circles, however, with a populist pivot that named a new villain in the racial divide.

"Black anger" and "white resentments," he said, have "distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle-class squeeze: a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices and short-term greed."

Yes. Before we, the little people, start fighting for the scraps during the coming harsh recession, we should recognize that the corporate elite want to create divisions so we don't target the true villains. Obama has pointed them out for us.

The "divide" with which we should be concerned is the class dived, not the racial divide. The privileges of corporate charters, exploited by the elite class, need to be reeled in.


Associated Press, Analysis: Obama grabs race issue, March 18, 2008.

March 17, 2008

Tax Payer Bailout Equals Ownership

Paul Krugman writes, in an essay entitled The B Word:
Last week, Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, and John Lipsky, a top official at the International Monetary Fund, both suggested that public funds might be needed to rescue the U.S. financial system. Mr. Lipsky insisted that he wasn’t talking about a bailout. But he was.

OK. If we the tax payers have to bail out the financial titans, then we should become part owners. How does that happen? One way is to negotiate a partial nationalization of the corporation. Think of it as future profit sharing. These companies are dead if the tax payer doesn't come to their rescue. We could tax them in the future, but I'd rather have their books open to US government audits, and for we the tax payers to simply get our cut. Period.

I'm tired of watching the US tax payer get shafted in historic crisis after crisis. We're still paying for the 1980s Savings and Loan bail out. It's time to say enough is enough. "The King has now clothes," already. This isn't a free market, it's a free ride, and I'm sick and tired of underwriting the wealthy lifestyle of financial high fliers. Are you?

Lets do something about it. Write your US representatives and senators. We want partial ownership.

March 15, 2008

You Go Pastor Wright

One can quibble about the harsh tenor of statements by Obama's Pastor, Jeremiah Wright a former Marine, but the thrust of those statements serve as a wakeup call. Take for example the following statement, reportedly made by Wright in a sermon immediately following the events of 9/11:

We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye .... We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.

Wright's main point is backed by intelligence community members past an present. In his book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, one of three-part series, Johnson details the causes of "blowback," a term coined by the CIA to denote the unintended consequences of "economic colonialism" policies.

Professor Johnson, a former cold war hawk and consultant to the CIA, writes:

The evidence is building up that in the decade following the end of the Cold War, the United States largely abandoned a reliance on diplomacy, economic aid, international law, and multilateral institutions in carrying out its foreign policies and resorted much of the time to bluster, military force, and financial manipulation... The world is not a safer place as a result.

This is a point I made in a brief essay, Four Phases of US Monetary Influence, which outlines how the decline of US monetary power has been mirrored by increasingly coercive foreign policy measures.

Obama needs to say he understands that the thrust of what Wright and others are saying is an honest and necessary assessment of the past policies of the United States government. Obama can do so by pointing out that the government has, at times, been captured by elite powers that use the executive branch for their narrow self interests. In doing so, Obama would further the message that his presidency would reclaim the government from the hands of those corrupting elite powers.


Associated Press, Obama denounces pastor's 9/11 comments, NEDRA PICKLER, March 15, 2008.

March 9, 2008

DIrty War, Dirty Water

Associated Press reports:
Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says.

... and they weren't even drinking it! The AO continues:

A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.

According to Wikipedia, "Cellulitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue underlying the skin, that can be caused by a bacterial infection."

The article closes with,

KBR is a former subsidiary of Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that Cheney once led.

Note, the Cheney connection is made twice in this article. That wouldn't have happened earlier in the Bush administration, which says something about our fair and balanced corporatized media system.

Another war profiteer story for the growing file.


Associated Press, Water makes US soldiers in Iraq sick, March 9, 2008.

March 5, 2008

We Watch Them Lie

We watched the White House lie about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda's ties to Iraq, and we knew were were being lied to.

We watched Press Secretary Scott McClellan lie about the White House's role in leaking CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, and we knew we were being lied to.

Yesterday, we watched State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey lie about the US's role in attempting to over throw the democratically elected Hamas-led Palestinian parliament, and we know we are being lied to. Read Casey's hollow words, punctuated by transparent attacks on the credibility of the source, Vanity Fair:
The story alleges that there was some kind of secret plot on the part of the U.S. government to create an internal conflict within the Palestinians, specifically an armed conflict. That's absurd. That's ridiculous. I said this morning that I think Vanity Fair should stick to arty photos of celebrities since clearly, at least in this instance, their efforts at serious journalism leaves something lacking.

We know it is Tom Casey, and the US State Department, that has no credibility. We are living in a failing state, when power of legitimacy has given way to the use of force. Hamas knows that all too well. Hamas knows that the US and Israel have intentionally provoked the home-made missile attacks, to break Hamas's unilateral cease fire and be able to point at Hamas and say, "We have a right to defend ourselves," another hollow statement. Because the US and Israel provoked the rocket attacks, the Hamas rocket attacks have a logical basis of legitimacy, as in "You asked for it," literally.

I for one am tired of watching them lie. It's for that reason, and the logic of stopping impunity, that I devote some of my time to ensuring that Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and a long list of others live the rest of their lives fighting off war crimes charges. They can run, but they can't hide. We'll smoke them out. They won't rest until they meet their maker.


Voice of America, US Denies Plotting Hamas Overthrow, David Gollust, State Department, March 4, 2008.

March 2, 2008

March 1, 2008

Mid-East Surrender Negotiations

I hear that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is going to Israel for more so-called peace negotiations. Media reports express concerns that Hamas might play a "spoiler role." While I disagree with the sectarian (religioous) aspects of Hamas, and Israel for that matter, they have built social support structures, like health clinics, which have earned Hamas legitimacy where other corrupt "leaders" have failed.

While atrocities have been committed on both sides, it remains undisputed that Europeans came to the region following World War II and imposed themselves on a place now called "Israel and the occupied territories." The sixty-year imposition has, at its core, been an assault on the dignity of the indigenous people of the region. Sixty years of ebb and flow, but with a constant sea level rise that has increasingly drown the Palestinian lives, sometimes to the point of desperate violent reaction.

Imagine your wife, sister or daughter experiencing the indignity of giving birth in public, a fairly common occurrence due to the Israeli system of checkpoints. Imagine the death of the infant, which likely would not have occurred in a hospital setting. Imagine the number of checkpoints growing, not just at boarders but within your neighborhood, making a trip to the market a regular assault on your dignity. Imagine your grandfather being slapped in the face by a haughty 20 year old foreign soldier at a checkpoint, because your grandfather had scolded the soldier for laughing and making fun the fact that he could touch your female body during a "security" search.

Imagine the family property, held for generations, having a road or wall cut through it, settlements built on it or simply being taken away. Imagine one wall of your town home being bashed through by Israeli soldiers from one neighboring town home, and then your other wall being bashed through into the other neighboring home as part of a house-to-house search. Imagine an Israeli soldier bashes in your television for fun in the process. Imagine they take over your living room to watch a soccer game for a break, and make your entire family stay in a bedroom for the duration. Imagine uncountable, creative indignities of all stripes being imposed on you, your friends and family for sixty years. You are subhuman.

Imagine, a legitimate election brings people to power who have provided health care in your community where no one else has, who resist the indignities described above, whose leaders risk assassination in their legitiamate struggle. Then imagine a foreign power places an economic embargo on your country because they don't like the result of your democratic election. Imagine the foreign power begins to fund, arm and train the political party that lost the election. Imagine their power is so great that they control the media; your story is not heard and a distorted story is widely accepted by average people around the world. Imagine that the embargo results wide-spread power outages, ruining the little food you have in your fridge and the antibiotics in an unprepared medical clinic. Imagine this leads to the death of your lover who had an infection from a shrapnel wound caused by a helicopter rocket attack that killed your younger brother. Imagine the smell of human waste due to the intentional destruction of the sewer lines by the occupying foreign power. Imagine this also leads to the contamination of your water, which must now be boiled, a process that is increasingly difficult due to a lack of fuel associated with the years-long siege. Imagine the taste of the water. Imagine that the boiling process only kills the bacteria, but doesn't remove the toxins that are highly suspected of making people ill and causing the death of the weak or old. Imagine having to give that water to your child because your choice to do otherwise has been taken away by a foreign power.

Crushing indignities that justify resistance. A tightening squeeze that has become so brutal that brother fights brother out of frustration over resistance strategies, none of which have a chance of working in the face of global superpower dominance. Imagine you know your suffering is due, in large part, to the super power's "national security" objective of controlling oil that happens to be located in the middle east.

Imagine your grandmother telling stories of a time when Jews and non-Jews lived side by side in what is now a crippled society, never to fully recover. Imagine that "hope" means capitulation to a 60-year series of indignities, a geographically discontinuous "state" in shambles led by a puppet regime composed of those people who sold out to the occupying powers. The foreign powers will have secured the best land, will control the water, and will insist that their citizens be allowed to remain on land that was stolen by anyone's definition. Imagine the foreign powers will lift their heads high, puff out their chests, smile for the cameras in a hollow victory of securing peace.

It's not peace that's being negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. It's surrender. We don't need peace negotiations. We need justice negotiations.