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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Think happy, positive thoughts 

Oh, yeah, this is the place you come to when you want to do THAT.

Last Thursday on the Diane Rehm show, CIA agent/author Anonymous said that nothing--NOTHING--has ever stopped or stalled or kept bin Laden from attacking when he wanted, where he wanted, and how he wanted to attack.

According to this tell-all CIA officer, bin Laden has never put off an attack, has never chosen a date for its historical purpose or to coincide with a date to get revenge, etc. When an attack is decided upon, it's carried out, unless foiled in process.

There is nothing an investigation or a commission or an intelligence agency can do to protect us. If bin Laden or a domestic terrorist or any sort of suicide killer/bomber/hijacker wants to, they will hit us again.

It's only a matter of time. It's the price we pay for living in a free society. If they haven't hit us in the last three years, it's because they don't WANT to hit us. And it's time someone besides me realized it, or said so out loud.

We all know it's true. My sentiment is this: Why is al Qaeda showing mercy upon the U.S.? Are they really fly-papered over in Iraq? If so...when will they hit us again?

BushWhackedUSA.com

Thursday, July 22, 2004

FLIP-FLOPPER IN CHIEF 

This morning I came upon this list of Bush's flip-flops: President Bush: Flip-Flopper in Chief from the Center for American Progress. Interesting stuff there, and a useful resource for those inclined to defend John Kerry -- though I'm not so inclined, myself.

I was thinking about doing a short biography of the life of George W. Bush, compiling facts and statistics from various sources, and tailoring it to the everyday working-stiff reader -- until I considered Kerry's background and thought, what a waste of time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS 

Courtesy of ZNet, here is an article from Mary Lou Malig of Focus on the Global South:

WAR: TRADE BY OTHER MEANS: How the US is getting a free trade agreement minus the negotiations

EXCERPT: Before it handed over “sovereignty” to Iraq, the US has done the humanitarian task of installing peace and order. This they did by issuing orders--called the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Orders or Bremer Orders for short. These orders covered almost everything from de-Baathification of Iraqi society to weapons control to management and use of Iraqi public property to new Iraqi Dinar banknotes. The CPA was impressively efficient in issuing orders compared to the haphazard way they have been repairing basic infrastructure in the country.

A rather harmless looking CPA order number 39 on Foreign Investment was issued as part of this laundry list last September 19, 2003. Not more than six pages long, it disguises its true weight, for it carries with it the same impact of a 100-page free trade agreement and covers all essential elements of an investment agreement that usually take years for countries to agree upon.

In one swift move, the US installed a market economy geared towards “promoting foreign investment through the protection of the rights and property of foreign investors in Iraq.” These investor rights are not new. In fact its similarity to other investment agreements is a little too uncanny to be coincidental.

BUSH HAS HIS PRIORITIES 

Well, it seems the Vacation President, America's record holder for time-off among commanders-in-chief, has decided that he won't take any vacations for a whole month! What prompted such a drastic change in behavior? Low standing in the polls and vulnerability in re-election, of course. When a memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S." can't get the guy into the office for a month, one can only marvel at Bush's strength of character now that he realizes the seriousness of the Kerry threat to America's security.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Let's get this straight. 

It's okay for Bush to tell Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, a former ally of Iraq and the last country on Earth to sever ties with the Taliban, the precise battle plans for the INVASION of Iraq, before Bush even told his Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the first Gulf War...

...but it's not okay for Sandy Berger, former National Security Advisor, to brief SENATOR John Kerry, who presumably already has the highest of clearance codes, who will likely become the NEXT President of the United States, on some intel.

And we're wasting Justice Department resources on this. Terrorists will go un-apprehended because of this witchhunt.

Horseshit. Pure political horseshit, the kind that makes Whitewater come to mind.

BushWhackedUSA.com

DICK CHENEY AND HALLIBURTON CAUGHT RED-HANDED SUPPORTING TERRORIST NATIONS 

In keeping with the theme of the Corporate Cloud Over Civilization (namely, the military-industrial-congressional-administrative complex), here's another good one. From the Daily Mislead, an item not to be missed: Cheney Attacked Fight Against Terror While Abroad

On the same day that President Bush announced plans to investigate Iran for ties to terrorism,[1] Halliburton acknowledged that "a U.S. grand jury issued a subpoena to the company seeking information about its Cayman Islands unit's work in Iran,[2] where it is illegal for U.S. companies to operate." Earlier this year, CBS News reported that Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of the company "during which time Halliburton Products and Services set up shop in Iran."[3] In fact, Cheney was so adamant about doing business with terrorist nations like Iran, he even went abroad to publicly attack American foreign policy after meeting with top officials from a foreign government.

Despite economic sanctions on Iran because of its ties to terrorists, Cheney openly bragged about Halliburton's business dealings there during the 2000 campaign.[4] Cheney argued that it was ethical for Halliburton to use "independent foreign subsidiaries" that exist in tax shelter countries like the Cayman Islands to skirt U.S. law. He also went abroad to attack American policy: According to the Malaysian News Agency, Cheney publicly attacked U.S. sanctions on terrorist countries after a meeting with top Malaysian government officials in Kuala Lampur.[5]

During the 2000 campaign, Cheney also claimed that, as Halliburton CEO, "I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq,[6] even arrangements that were supposedly legal." Yet, earlier this year, The New Yorker reported "during Cheney's tenure[7] at Halliburton the company did business" in Iraq as well. The Washington Post reported that despite strict economic sanctions, Halliburton did up to $73 million in business[8] with Iraq while Cheney was heading the company.


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Visit Misleader.org for links to their sources, and sign up for their daily E-mails while you're at it. Great stuff!

Did Bush-backed Republicans foment a right-wing coup in Haiti? 

According to Max Blumenthal of Salon.com, yes, they did. If you don't feel like reading that article or sitting through the obnoxious ads for a Salon day pass, you can hear and see Amy Goodman interviewing Blumenthal today on Democracy NOW!

EXCERPT: Haiti's unelected Prime Minister Gerard Latortue is in Washington today to attend a two-day conference at the World Bank headquarters to urge international donors to help the new U.S.-backed Haitian government. The World Bank has estimated about $1.3 billion is needed to help rebuild the country which is the poorest in the Americas.

The allocation of funds will be guided by the Interim Cooperation Framework, an assessment of Haiti"s financial needs completed earlier this month by the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Critics warn that the program's failure to involve Haitians in the planning could end up sending nearly all the funds into the pockets of foreigners and Haitian elite, with little reaching the people in need. A protest is being organized outside the meeting today.

U.S. Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor said the United States would contribute $232 million and the Inter-American Development Bank $400 million. But what many people don't know is that U.S. federal funds have been flowing into Haiti for the past six years. A federally-funded group called the International Republican Institute, or IRI, has funneled some $3 million into Haiti to destabilize the democratically-elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide.

The IRI, a nonprofit political group backed by powerful Republicans close to the Bush administration, initiated the destabilization of Aristide's government by imposing harsh sanctions, training Aristide's political opponents and encouraging them to reject internationally-sanctioned power-sharing agreements. Haiti's political crisis eventually escalated into violence until Aristide was overthrown in February of this year in what he calls a modern-day kidnapping in the service of a coup backed by the United States.


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Wey've got a group of Republicans closely tied to Bush involved in an anti-democratic scandal, meddling in the affairs of the hemisphere's poorest country, in plain sight.

One question: Where's the Democratic party on this one, hmm?

THE REAL STORY: DEFENSE CORPORATIONS USE GOVERNMENT TO LINE THEIR POCKETS 

We went for nearly a year without negative coverage of anything to do with the Bush administration appearing in the mainstream press. Now it's not uncommon to find articles and commentaries picking at the edges of the war effort, highlighting the human rights violations and damage to international relations. Still, though, we find little to do with the bigger story behind all of this -- the fundamental corruption of our government by the influence of, and cozy relationship with, big business. Democrats and Republicans are both culpable in this corruption, as Thomas Frank shows in this essay which appeared last week at TomDispatch and is now making its way around the progressive Internet circuit.

Here, though, is an article which appeared last weekend in the Los Angeles Times: IRAQ: Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq's Reconstruction.

We found this at one of our favorite Web sites, CorpWatch.org.

Here is an excerpt:

Lobbyists, aides to senior officials and others encouraged invasion and now help firms pursue contracts. They see no conflict.
In the months and years leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they marched together in the vanguard of those who advocated war.

As lobbyists, public relations counselors and confidential advisors to senior federal officials, they warned against Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, praised exiled leader Ahmad Chalabi, and argued that toppling Saddam Hussein was a matter of national security and moral duty.

Now, as fighting continues in Iraq, they are collecting tens of thousands of dollars in fees for helping business clients pursue federal contracts and other financial opportunities in Iraq. For instance, a former Senate aide who helped get U.S. funds for anti-Hussein exiles who are now active in Iraqi affairs has a $175,000 deal to advise Romania on winning business in Iraq and other matters.

And the ease with which they have moved from advocating policies and advising high government officials to making money in activities linked to their policies and advice reflects the blurred lines that often exist between public and private interests in Washington. In most cases, federal conflict-of-interest laws do not apply to former officials or to people serving only as advisors.

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said the actions of former officials and others who serve on government advisory boards, although not illegal, can raise the appearance of conflicts of interest. "It calls into question whether the advice they give is in their own interests rather than the public interest," Noble said.

Michael Shires, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, disagreed. "I don't see an ethical issue there," he said. "I see individuals looking out for their own interests."


We encourage you to read the rest, here, and let us know what you think. We also hope you'll send us links and URLs, here, when you come across similar coverage and commentary in your own reading. Thanks.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

OUTFOXED BY "OUTFOXED" 

Well, I tried to attend a local showing of Outfoxed, the movie about Fox News which is showing in various house parties around the country, but the house I signed up for had not received the movie. They send us along to another address, which was difficult (for us) to find; and when we did find it, it turned out to be an art gallery that was closed. Ah well. I was going to write a review here, but that's just not going to happen.

I had even baked a loaf of bread to take with us. At least we had that to snack on for the drive home. It's no easy task getting a four-week old infant and her accoutrements out the door, mind you. We earned that bread.

If anyone hears of another showing in or around Missoula, drop me a line.

RED-STATE AMERICA AGAINST ITSELF 

Why do so many people in poorer regions of the country consistently undermine their own economic self-interest by voting for conservative politicians?

Thomas Frank of the Baffler has an answer: democrats have given up the language of "class warfare," and handed most cultural issues over to the republicans; consequently, as the dems have shifted rightward economically (especially under Clinton), there's little or nothing left to distiguish themselves to voters. Given the choice between a party that represents neither their cultural nor economic interests and one that at least agrees with their conservative views on abortion, gay rights, etc., more and more Americans have voted conservative. Frank examines this trend in his home state of Kansas, and comes up with an interesting analysis.

We linked to this article on the main BushWhackedUSA page a couple days ago, but I wanted to revisit it here with the hope of sparking some discussion. So, take a look at Red-State America Against Itself and let me know what you think. I'll check back a few times today.

Here's an excerpt:

American conservatism depends for its continued dominance and even for its very existence on people never making certain mental connections about the world, connections that until recently were treated as obvious or self-evident everywhere on the planet. For example, the connection between mass culture, most of which conservatives hate, and laissez-faire capitalism, which they adore without reservation. Or between the small towns they profess to love and the market forces that are slowly grinding those small towns back into the red-state dust -- which forces they praise in the most exalted terms.

In this onrushing parade of anti-knowledge my home state has proudly taken a place at the front. It is true that Kansas is an extreme case, and that there are still working-class areas here that are yet to be converted to the Con gospel. But it is also true that things that begin in Kansas --the Civil War, Prohibition, Populism, Pizza Hut -- have a historical tendency to go national.

Maybe Kansas, instead of being a laughingstock, is actually in the vanguard. Maybe what has happened there points the way in which all our public policy debates are heading. Maybe someday soon the political choices of Americans everywhere will be whittled down to the two factions of the Republican Party. Whether the Mods still call themselves "Republicans" then or have switched to being Democrats won't really matter: both groups will be what Kansans call "fiscal conservatives," which is to say "friends of business," and the issues that motivated our parents' Democratic Party will be permanently off the table.

Sociologists often warn against letting the nation's distribution of wealth become too polarized, as it clearly has in the last few decades. Societies that turn their backs on equality, the professors insist, inevitably meet with a terrible comeuppance. But those sociologists were thinking of an old world in which class anger was a phenomenon of the left. They weren't reckoning with Kansas, with the world we are becoming.

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