September 30, 2009

Roy

  What Have We Done to Democracy?
What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the free market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit?

Is it possible to reverse this process? Can something that has mutated go back to being what it used to be? What we need today, for the sake of the survival of this planet, is long-term vision. Can governments whose very survival depends on immediate, extractive, short-term gain provide this? Could it be that democracy, the sacred answer to our short-term hopes and prayers, the protector of our individual freedoms and nurturer of our avaricious dreams, will turn out to be the endgame for the human race? Could it be that democracy is such a hit with modern humans precisely because it mirrors our greatest folly -- our nearsightedness?

Our inability to live entirely in the present (like most animals do), combined with our inability to see very far into the future, makes us strange in-between creatures, neither beast nor prophet. Our amazing intelligence seems to have outstripped our instinct for survival. We plunder the earth hoping that accumulating material surplus will make up for the profound, unfathomable thing that we have lost. It would be conceit to pretend I have the answers to any of these questions. But it does look as if the beacon could be failing and democracy can perhaps no longer be relied upon to deliver the justice and stability we once dreamed it would.


Rather Not Know The Truth?

A big call:

Dan Rather Lawsuit Against CBS TOSSED In Entirety
"At the outset, we find that Supreme Court erred in declining to dismiss Rather's breach of contract claim against CBS," the court added.


Rather's team is appealing the dismissal. It would be great to see that report of Bush's AWOL National Service becoming public record. But obviously there are huge powers lined up to ensure it never happens. Not just because of the embarrassment to Duby & Co, but also for Big Media's sake.

September 29, 2009

Irony Is Dead

This is the guy who bankrolls the Lib/Nat (ahem) "rightwing" coalition in Australia...

China foreign investment rules racist, says Clive Palmer:

“Capital is now in China, it's not in the US.”


So now the Chinese are Capitalists...?

Or in other words, the whole left-right thing was just a ruse, and everyone is just greedy and self-interested. We've moved beyond ideology to pure practicality. Greed is good, that's the only thing everyone with any wealth and power agrees on.

September 28, 2009

Another Amazing Coincidence In Iraq

Somebody should compile a list...

U.S. drone crashes into Iraq political party office
Cheng said it was a coincidence that the drone struck the local offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq's biggest Sunni Arab political group, the military said.


September 26, 2009

Where's Omar Fadhil Now?

Still picking up cheques from Rupert Murdoch, still writing opinion pieces for the WSJ, but now under the name Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi.

Omar is still following the money, obviously, as a mouthpiece for the US military-industrial complex. Calling for more missiles, a bigger airport, more spending. You know the game. And if you don't, this clip from Motley Fool should help:
The Obama administration has proposed, and Congress is currently reviewing, a possible $7.8 billion sale of Patriot PAC-3 missiles to Turkey. Congressmen who've been stymied in their efforts to funnel government funds to Lockheed for its F-22 fighter jet (killed for good last week in the Senate), and to Raytheon for its subcontracting role in the Kinetic Interceptor (also now DOA), get a second bite at the funding apple. Both Lockheed and Raytheon were named as contractors to build the Patriot batteries, if the sale gets approved.

And that's just the start. In other Mideast news, The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial by Iraqi commentator and political analyst Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi last week, calling on Congress to provide Iraq with a robust air defense system. Headlining Mr. Al-Nidawi's wish list: F-16 fighter jets from Lockheed, and -- you guessed it -- Patriots from Raytheon.


(BTW: His WSJ co-author Austin Bay is a (former?) US Army Colonel who served in Iraq and wrote a book called "The Other Side Of Brightness". Irony much?)

Omar also wrote an Op-Ed for Rupert's The Australian back in June, titled Iraq Was A Just War. No trace of irony here either:
Corruption is a serious problem, but worse than corruption itself is if there is a lack of checks and balances that can stop it. In Iraq this used to happen all the time, but now a wind of change is blowing...


In fact, Omar Fadhil is now a summer associate at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. They are connected to the National Review and The Weekly Standard, and they publish a number of blogs including "Faster Please" by Michael Ledeen, "Iraq Status Report" and a blog called "The Long War Journal". There's that old neocon money trail.

Omar Fadhil is also now a graduate student of international affairs at Columbia University in New York City. He has 300 friends on Facebook, including media "guru" Jeff Jarvis, the mysterious Kerry Dupont (who offered all that cash to the boys in Baghdad), and Arthur "Good News" Chrenkoff.

Here's Omar's pic:



Here's brother Mohammed Fadhil:



And here's their old mate Arthur Chrenkoff:



Interesting that brother Ali is either not on Facebook, or totally estranged from the clan.

Also interesting to follow Kerry Dupont's links. You remember Kerry, a plain old mother of two from Maine who offered the Fadhil brothers $300,000, promised to get them help from the Department of Defense, and met George W. Bush with them and Paul Wolfowitz in the Oval Office. Here's a Facebook pic of Kerry:



Who is friends will Kelly Dupont:



Who is friends with Edward Dupont:



He looks pretty hard-core, doesn't he? There are a few Washington DC "friends" in the Dupont portfolio too. Wonder where Spirit Of America was getting all that money? There's another trail to follow...

Now I am just wondering if these crazy Dupont kids are not somehow related to these guys:
The Dupont Group is a Concord, New Hampshire-based business consulting firm focused on government affairs and public relations. The firm specializes in advocacy and communications associated with complicated public policy issues and regulated industries. The firm's services include lobbying and government affairs representation with an emphasis on New Hampshire state government, including the Legislature, executive branch as well as regulatory agencies. In addition, The Dupont Group's public relations division, White Birch Communications Group provides clients with a full array of corporate communications services ranging from integrated news media programs to corporate identification programs.


The head of the Dupont Group is a guy called Edward Dupont, a former Senator and founder of Strafford Fuels, Inc. But the pic doesn't look like the same guy:



Still, there could be a family resemblance. What do you think? Kerry Dupont comes from Maine, which is not too far from New Hampshire, where the Dupont Group is based.

PS: For anyone who doesn't know who Omar Fadhil is, this old blog post explains.

Coincidence?

Hmmn, this is where they re sending the guys from Gitmo, right?

AP: Palau creates world's first shark sanctuary.


September 25, 2009

Staggering

Amazing how we all slowly becomes immune to the impact of these still-climbing figures at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE:
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,339,771"

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,664

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1410

Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq

$685,399,255,031


What Was It All About?

I got Saddam for you.....  ... can I have a pony NOW?

September 24, 2009

More Dirty Deeds

Dirty Deeds

Investigation: Nuclear scandal - Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan - Times Online
On the face of it, the letter’s contents are a damning indictment of a generation of Pakistan’s political and military leadership, who used Khan’s nuclear and missile skills to enhance Pakistan’s diplomacy.

It was not rocket science to work out a plausible explanation for the Dutch seizure. Bloggers will probably err on the side of more imaginative conspiracy theories, but the truth is probably simpler. After the September 11 attacks, the West in general, and the United States in particular, had to work with Pakistan to counter Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in neighbouring Afghanistan. That meant that they had to work with President Musharraf, even though he was no democrat. As part of the bargain, Pakistan’s nuclear sins also needed to be placed to one side.

As sins go, they were big: Pakistan had been spreading nuclear technology for years. The first customer for one of its enrichment plants was China — which itself had supplied Pakistan with enough highly enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs in the summer of 1982.

There it was in the letter...


GWB: The Comeback Tour

George Bush in Real Life | vanityfair.com
The 1,500 people in the audience—men in dark-blue suits and women who look like they could be B.F.F.’s with Sarah Palin—spent $400 each to hear Bush give his first speech since leaving office. This is his test run, kicking off his post-presidency. No media invited. The organizers of the event, Andy McCreath and Christian Darbyshire of tinePublic (pronounced “Tiny Public”), won’t say how much W. is getting for this appearance, but they’re the same guys who helped launch Bill Clinton’s lucrative post-presidential juggernaut, with a multi-city tour of Canada—reportedly at about $150,000 a stop.

On May 29, they’ll take Bush to Toronto, where he’ll appear with Clinton for a first-time-ever public “conversation.” “His popularity is only going to increase with this,” predicts McCreath.

“This is my maiden voyage,” Bush says, onstage, in that way of his that could almost be ironic. He starts off by telling everybody he’s feeling great. “I’m a lucky man,” he says, “to have been married to Laura Bush. She’s awesome!”

Applause—everyone claps for awesome Laura Bush!

The former president says that his first day home in Preston Hollow, the suburb of Dallas where he and his wife moved in January, he kicked back on the couch and hollered, “Baby, free at last!” To which Laura responded, “‘Yeah, you’re free to take out the trash. Consider it your new domestic policy agenda.’”

Big laugh. A woman at my table mouths, “He’s so funny!”

“I had not gone for a walk in a neighborhood in 14 years,” Bush says, referring to his time as governor of Texas and then president. He tells of how weird it felt to be able to go outside and take his Scottish terrier, Barney, for a walk. “Barney made a deposit in the yard,” he says, adding that when he bent down to retrieve it with a plastic bag, he got to thinking, “I was dodging this stuff for eight years—now I’m picking it up!”

The crowd goes wild on that one. Welcome to the George W. Bush post-presidency, which will be all about exorcising the demons, and trying to forge a comeback for a failed figure and his party.


September 23, 2009

Insiders V. Outsiders

Not a bad way to put it.

Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
Are the views expressed in that paragraph liberal or conservative ones? They're neither. Instead, they're the by-product of a completely different dichotomy that is growing in importance: between system insiders and their admirers (those who believe our national political establishment and its elites are basically sound and good) and system outsiders (those whose anger is confined not to one of the two political parties but who instead believe that the political culture itself is fundamentally corrupted and destructive). There are people typically identified as members of either the conventional Right or Left who are, in fact, more accurately described as being in this latter group: those disenchanted with the political culture itself.


September 21, 2009

Beyond Parody

Because without NYT and Wapo, the world would not exist.

Obama open to newspaper bailout bill - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room


September 19, 2009

Sorry, But This IS Funny!

Of course mental illness is nothing to joke about. But this guy is the Lib's go-to man on emissions etc. And he plans to resume his job as soon as he's "well" again!

Robb takes leave over depressive illness - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


The King Is Dead

PostPartisan - Irving Kristol's Intellectual Universe
Irving Kristol's Intellectual Universe

The passing of Irving Kristol is a very sad occasion. He was a truly great man, a great intellectual, and a great, patriotic servant to his country. He was also a unique inspiration, to me personally, and to untold thousands of other young people for whom he provided a model of the intellectual life well-lived. He was a deep and fierce thinker, who nevertheless delivered his thoughts in the most amiable fashion, without animus or bile. He was curious and invited others to be curious, to engage in serious dialogue on the important issues of the day.

He was also a creator of communities and institutions. He occupied a unique space between the world of the mind and the world of action. Networks of thinkers, policy-makers, and politicians revolved around him -- and not because he thrust himself into their midst but because his mind and character attracted them to him. To go to work for him, as I did fresh out of college almost 30 years ago, was to enter a rich and exciting intellectual universe, filled with learning and integrity and a commitment to the well-being of society. I fear such a universe may no longer exist. But the memory of what Irving Kristol created is enough to warm the soul for a lifetime.

By Robert Kagan | September 18, 2009; 4:22 PM ET
Categories: Kagan | Tags: Robert Kagan Share This: E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: In Virginia's Election, a Study in Contrasts
Comments

Let us be clear. Irving Kristol was one of those who supported and pushed for the invasion of Iraq. THE INVASION OF IRAQ WAS AND STILL IS A MISTAKE. I use capital letters here because there are still some people out there that, despite all facts to the contrary, believe to the contrary and virtually none of the neoconservatives have apologized to the American people for the invasion. Therefore, Mr. Kristol was NOT a great man, and, if one reads some of his writings, even just a few, one finds that Mr. Kristol was wrong about virtually everything he ever wrote about. I do not wish to speak ill of the dead but the most patriotic thing that Mr. Kristol ever did was to pass away, because by passing he no longer speaks or writes and no longer influences politicians into making costly mistakes like the invasion of Iraq, THE WORST FOREIGN POLICY DEBACLE THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER PERPETRATED.

When the hell are you people going to learn this? Personally, I am fed up with you guys.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | September 18, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

HS this is the only thing i could think of in response to your article.

Posted by: krj1944cableonenet | September 18, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Irving Kristol did two things for which he can never be forgiven:

1. He founded the American Enterprise Institute, from whence everything that is putrid about Washington emanates. Its influence on America has been malign.(That it was/is Dick Cheney's favorite place to give his speeches says enough.)

2. He fathered Bill Kristol, who -- along with Robert Kagan -- co-founded PNAC, the cabal of neo-con crazies and Zionists who polluted the Pentagon and the Bush White House with their plans, drawn up in the late 1990s, for the invasion of Iraq (and Iran).

The depth of Irving Kristol's much-ballyhooed intellect can be garnered from the following (courtesy of blog commenter Harry Hopkins):

"I remember back in the late 1990s, when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture. Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol during the first Bush administration.

"The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle's chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon's domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.

"With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. 'I oppose it,' Irving replied. 'It subverts meritocracy.' "

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | September 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was the architect of neoconservatism. All the warm tributes will give hope to the poor guy that came up with New Coke. I am sure his standing and endeavours will survive whatever his son and Sarah Palin do to them. Peace.

Posted by: steveboyington | September 18, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"The passing of Irving Kristol is a very sad occasion. He was a truly great man, a great intellectual, and a great, patriotic servant to his country." ~ Kagan.

Unfortunately for America, the country Irving Kristol served was Israel.

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | September 18, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

He was a goddamned traitor to the U. S. so the country you refer to (but curiously don't name) to which he was so patriotic must be Israel.

It's time for zionists like you Kagan to be measured for a rope.

But by all means let us know where he will be buried, once in a while I have the runs and would love to squat in reflection over this fine man.

Posted by: mot2win | September 18, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

For deacades Mr. Kristol and his son have done more to stratify, fragmant and damage this country than anyone except "Old Nick" himself, Milton Friedman. These were/are people who want to reinstitute a system of elitism that borders on royalism. That's one reason why the Kennedy's angered you so much: they were revered by their followers.

If, as Dr. Krauthammer is saying, the "public interest" has died, then why are no comments allowed to be posted in response to his valorization of Mr. Kristol? Or did you just draw the short stick, Mr. Kagan?

Liberal ideology may be inherintly meek, but ultra conservatives are cowards. Rather than let your ideology speak for itself by achiewving positive results for all Americans, you continually have to rig the game either rhetorically or by materially breaking or altering the law to make it look like you're right.

Long live the king.

Posted by: rogied25 | September 18, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse


September 18, 2009

Pilger

Will we ever get our democracies back again? Or did we never really have them?

For Britons, The Party Game Is Over :

The game is over. Corporatism and a reinvigorated militarism have finally appropriated parliamentary democracy, a historic shift.


September 17, 2009

He Means It

The Story of My Shoe by Muntadhar al-Zaidi -- Antiwar.com
In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful.

Here I am, free.


Bye Bye Star Wars!

OMFG this is good news. Reagan's Star Wars Missile Shield is finally toast.

The funny thing is that this was originally designed to beat the Soviets, whose empire collapsed under the weight of their own economic ineptitude.

U.S. To Shelve Bush's Nuclear-Missile Shield


XXXX Is Now A Japanese Beer

Crazy world. One day someone will realise there's money to be made in breaking all these big global corporations up again. But we'll probably all be dead by then. Meanwhile they are become more powerful that the governments who granted them carte blanche to rule the world.

Beer acquisition creates Australia's biggest supermarket supplier - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Hearts And Minds

When all these trigger-happy US psychos go home, the results are going to be pretty awful.

US troops kill Fallujah 'shoe-thrower' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


September 16, 2009

Getting Real

A new Dark Age?
A new Dark Age?

We need to do more to prevent the world descending into a new Dark Age as a result of climate change, argues Professor Tim Flannery.

By Tim Flannery
In the northern summer of 2008 Arctic sea ice covered the second smallest area recorded since the beginning of the satellite era

In 2006 James Lovelock published a book that bluntly laid before us the consequences of the carbon imbalance. The Revenge of Gaia argues Gaia's climate system is far more sensitive to greenhouse gas pollution than we imagine, and the system is already trapped in a vicious circle of positive feedback.

Although there is still time to avert a catastrophe, Lovelock believes humans lack the foresight, wisdom and political energy required to do so. Instead, he predicts, before the 21st century is out our global civilisation will have collapsed and a new Dark Age will have dawned, wherein a few survivors will cling to the few remaining habitable regions, such as Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula.

How probable is it that this bleak vision will come to pass? New scientific data means that in 2009 we are better placed than ever to determine the scale of the threat and its imminence.

The sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean is an ancient feature of our planet. It has glistened brightly into space for at least three million years.

The northern ice acts as a refrigerator that cools the entire planet. During the summer, the sun's rays beat down upon it 24 hours a day, but because the ice is bright, 90 per cent of that energy is deflected back into space.

By 2005 the Arctic ice cap had been melting at a rate of around eight per cent per decade for thirty years. At that rate, it would have taken until 2100 or thereabouts for the ice cap to disappear altogether.

But in the summer of 2005, a dramatic change occurred. The rate of melt accelerated, so that around four times as much ice melted as compared with previous summers.

These changes in the Arctic have left many scientists worried the region is already in the grip of an irreversible transition. During the winter months, the Arctic is now warming four times faster than the global average, while the existing temperature increase year-round already exceeds two degrees Celsius.

What will happen during that first iceless summer? Most likely, not much at all, for it will take several summers' worth of energy to warm the surface of the Arctic sea to a point where dangerous changes are generated further south. But each year thereafter, the ocean at the top of the world will warm inexorably, and the temperature gradient that controls climatic zones across the northern hemisphere will shift.

If we look back to the last time in Earth's history when such a great warming occurred — 55 million years ago — we see an ominously different world.

Back then, lemurs sported in the rainforests of Greenland, while the tropics were covered in a spiny, thin and alien-looking cover of vegetation, which is today entirely extinct. No one knows how quickly the world's climate altered back then, but one cannot help but fear what a similar scale of change might mean for humanity today.

New ramifications of rapid warming are continually being discovered. In 2006 scientists realised that the sea can die as a result of massive global warming. Indeed, it has done so several times during Earth's history, and when it does, it takes most life on land with it.

The most devastating example of oceanic death occurred around 250 million years ago, when 95 per cent of all life perished.

Geologists studying rocks in Western Australia discovered traces of the unique lipids (fatty molecules) made by strange kinds of bacteria known as purple bacteria and green sulphur bacteria.

These bacteria only thrive in waters that are well lit by the sun, yet are low in oxygen and high in hydrogen sulphide. Such conditions exist only in very restricted and unusual environments today, such as the 'jellyfish lakes' of Palau. Yet the story preserved in the rocks reveals that most, if not all, of Earth's oceans resembled this environment 250 million years ago.

How much time do we have to prove Lovelock wrong? On 31 March 2008, Dr James Hansen and eight of his colleagues provided a new, alarming, though still partial, answer to this question.

They looked back over the increasingly complete ice-core record, which documents the last three-quarters of a million years of Earth's climatic history, and tried to determine how much warming a given amount of atmospheric CO2 pollution would produce, and how long it would take to produce it.

Their most alarming discovery was that, when viewed over the long term, Earth's climate system is about twice as sensitive to CO2 pollution as is shown on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's century-long projections.

This implies that there is already enough greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere to cause two degrees Celsius of warming, bringing about conditions not seen on Earth for two to three million years and constituting, according to the authors, "a degree of warming that would surely yield 'dangerous' climate impacts".

Fortunately for us, some, perhaps half, of that warming is currently masked by other pollutants, known collectively as the agents of global dimming, which reflect sunlight into space, thus cooling Earth.

Today, China, India and other rapidly industrialising economies are releasing these pollutants in ever-increasing quantities. Yet because of their effect on visibility and their serious impact on human health, there's good reason to believe that in the near future such nations will move to curb their release.

In their landmark paper, Hansen and his colleagues make a useful distinction between climatic "tipping points" and "the point of no return."

The climatic tipping point is the point at which the greenhouse-gas concentration reaches a level sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change. The point of no return is reached when that concentration of greenhouse gas has been in place sufficiently long to give rise to an irreversible process.

Humanity is now suspended between a tipping point and a point of no return. We still have a few years before we reach the point of no return, but there is not a second to waste. This is our greatest challenge: to draw the pollution out of the air and save ourselves from Lovelock's new Dark Age.

Professor Tim Flannery is an eminent scientist, writer and former Australian of the Year. He is also chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council. This is an edited extract from his book Now or never: a sustainable future for Australia? published in Australia by Black Inc.


Who Are The Real Material Supporters?

Dad urges Hicks to fight to clear name
David Hicks has been urged by his father to fight to clear his name amid US government revelations that his terrorism-related charge could be quashed.

Adelaide-born Hicks pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism at a US military commission hearing in 2007.

But the US government now believes the charge isn't a law of war offence and convictions such as Hicks' could be overturned.

US assistant attorney-general David Kris has told a US senate committee examining military commissions there were "serious questions" about the material support charge.

"Our experts believe there is a significant risk that appellate courts will ultimately conclude that material support for terrorism is not a traditional law of war offence, thereby threatening to reverse hard-won convictions," Mr Kris has told the committee.


A Man With A Few Things To Say

Another Controlled Demolition

Once again, everything was already in place, including the camps and the US-based troops...

   Post Mortem for Lehman                : Information Clearing House - ICH

"On Thursday night, the Treasury went literally down on his knees before Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, begging her to agree taxpayer money to bail out the financial system. Bernanke, a scholar of the financial panic that caused the Great Depression, told fearful lawmakers there wouldn't be a banking system in place by Monday morning if they didn't act. Paulson talked openly about planning for martial law, about how to feed the American people if banking and commerce collapsed."

Pathetic. Paulson is a charlatan and Bernanke is just as bad. Despite their dire warnings, on Monday morning, the banking system was still in tact, just as it was a full month later when the first TARP funds were handed out to the big banks. It was all a hoax. The problem wasn't the banks toxic assets at all, but the commercial paper and money markets. The Fed and Treasury knew that they could count on Congress's abysmal ignorance of anything financial; and they weren't disappointed.


Church II

The Secret Government: What a Real Bipartisan Probe of Bush-era Crimes Should Look Like | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet
Church was never quite able to part with this conception of good Democrats/bad Republicans. Confronted with misdeeds under Kennedy and Johnson, he chose to view the CIA as a rogue agency, as opposed to one executing the president's wishes. This characterization became the fulcrum of debate within the committee. At one point Church referred to the CIA as a "rogue elephant," causing a media firestorm. But the final committee report shows that to the degree the agency and other parts of the secret government were operating with limited control from the White House, it was by design. Walter Mondale came around to the view that the problem wasn't the agencies themselves but the accretion of secret executive power: "the grant of powers to the CIA and to these other agencies," he said during a committee hearing, "is, above all, a grant of power to the president."

A contemporary Church Committee would do well to follow Mondale's approach and not Church's.


A Cruel Hoax Indeed

ME TALK PRESIDENTIAL ONE DAY: GQ Features on men.style.com
At one point there were twelve people crowded around our computer, trying to explain how the proposal worked. The economic advisers were disagreeing with each other.

There was total confusion. It was 5:30 p.m. The speech was in three and a half hours.

After finally getting the speech draft turned around and sent back to the teleprompter technicians, we trudged back to the Family Theater, where the president rehearsed. In the theater, the president was clearly confused about how the government would buy these securities. He repeated his belief that the government was going to “buy low and sell high,” and he still didn’t understand why we hadn’t put that into the speech like he’d asked us to. When it was explained to him that his concept of the bailout proposal wasn’t correct, the president was momentarily speechless. He threw up his hands in frustration.

“Why did I sign on to this proposal if I don’t understand what it does?” he asked.

The president was clearly frustrated with what was going on, but there was little he could do at this late hour. He went up to take a nap, saying he was beat. He looked it. I’d never seen him more exhausted. His hair was out of place and shaggy. His face looked drained and pale. Even more distressing, he was wearing Crocs. As I looked at him I thought to myself, how many more crises can one guy take?


This bit is also good for a bit of schadenfreude:
The president, like me, didn’t seem to be in love with any of the available options. He always believed Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. “Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk,” he once said (except he didn’t say “keister”). He didn’t think much of Barack Obama. After one of Obama’s blistering speeches against the administration, the president had a very human reaction: He was ticked off. He came in one day to rehearse a speech, fuming. “This is a dangerous world,” he said for no apparent reason, “and this cat isn’t remotely qualified to handle it. This guy has no clue, I promise you.” He wound himself up even more. “You think I wasn’t qualified?” he said to no one in particular. “I was qualified.”
And this is juicy too:
I was once in the Oval Office when the president was told a campaign event in Phoenix he was to attend with McCain suddenly had to be closed to the press. The president didn’t understand why when the whole purpose of holding the event had been to show Bush and McCain together so the press would stop asking why the two wouldn’t be seen together. If the event was closed to the press, the whole thing didn’t make sense.

“If he doesn’t want me to go, fine,” the president said. “I’ve got better things to do.”

Eventually, someone informed the president that the reason the event was closed was that McCain was having trouble getting a crowd. Bush was incredulous—and to the point. “He can’t get 500 people to show up for an event in his hometown?” he asked. No one said anything, and we went on to another topic. But the president couldn’t let the matter drop. “He couldn’t get 500 people? I could get that many people to turn out in Crawford.” He shook his head. “This is a five-spiral crash, boys.”

We tried to move on to something else. But the president wouldn’t let go. He was stuck on the Phoenix event. At one point, he looked off into space and said to no one in particular, “What is this—a cruel hoax?”

September 15, 2009

Primitive Politics

Speaking Of Old Bastards Who Should Be Dead By Now

Did Henry Kissinger want "an accident" to happen to Bud Zumwalt? | Danger Room | Wired.com
At night, one friend of his told me, Zumwalt used to crawl into bed, smile, and say, “goodnight Henry.”


More Power To The Fed

BBC NEWS | Business | Obama issues warning to bankers
President Obama said his administration was working on an "ambitious" overhaul of the regulatory system.

Under the proposed regulation, the White House would give the central bank, the Federal Reserve, new powers over huge financial firms and the ability to seize banks whose collapse could threaten the economy.


September 14, 2009

The Great Game

This is not a well written article, but some food for thought nonetheless. Amazing how it's all disappearing down the memory hole, isn't it?

    What Role Did The U.S.-Israeli  Relationship Play In 9-11?               : Information Clearing House - ICH
Only one nation had the means, motive, opportunity and stable nation state intelligence required to take the U.S. to war in the Middle East while also making it appear that Islam is the problem.


September 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

9/11: Our Truth, and Theirs by Justin Raimondo -- Antiwar.com
Cameron’s reportage haunts us today, and mocks us from the archives where it has been gathering dust for eight years. "Since September 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations," reported Cameron:

"A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States. There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins.’ But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.’"

Over the next three nights, Cameron detailed the existence of an underground Israeli army in the US armed with a dazzling array of hi-tech spying devices and techniques that enabled them to penetrate our vital communications, including those utilized by law enforcement. His reports also described the consequences for any law enforcement officials who dared raise questions about this: their careers, Cameron told us, would be effectively over.

Cameron’s reporting was viewed by millions. Of course, the Israelis and our own government denied everything. Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government, scoffed: Israel, spying on the United States? Why, who ever heard of such a thing?! The US government, for its part, disdained all such reports as "an urban myth." The Israel lobby moved quickly to make sure the Cameron reports were thrown down the Memory Hole, and Cameron was accused of – you guessed it! – "anti-Semitism," on account of having spent time in the Middle East in his youth.

Yet the story persisted. Die Zeit, the respected German weekly, ran a piece entitled "Next Door to Mohammed Atta," in which further evidence the Israelis had been tracking the hijackers quite closely was cited as coming from French intelligence sources. This was followed up by a story in Salon – hardly a bastion of anti-Semitic agitation – which gave a long and detailed account of the Israeli spying operation, as outlined by Cameron, and concluded that it was in large part meant as a diversionary tactic. The same author did a comprehensive follow-up in Counterpunch, after The Nation spiked it. Reputable newspapers like the Scottish Sunday Herald reported the known facts.

Yet the 9/11 Commission did not so much as mention this aspect of the 9/11 story. Nor has Fox News ever followed up on Cameron’s reporting: they haven’t disavowed it, either. They, along with the rest of the "news" media in this country, simply pretend it never happened. When Arianna Huffington purged me from blogging on the Huffington Post, she cited my own reporting on this story as the reason: "Oh, come on, Dhaaa-link! You know dat’s anti-Semitic!"

Really? Is Fox News anti-Semitic, too? Is Die Zeit? Salon? Le Monde? How about The Forward?

Of course, Arianna is an airhead, but her instinct for self-preservation at all costs – yes, even at the cost of the truth – is indicative of what’s involved here. I was told, before I undertook to challenge the "official" 9/11 story, that I would pay for it by being cast out of the "mainstream" whilst being mercilessly smeared. In any event, since I was never all that interested in being considered "mainstream" – in part because I knew the whole concept of "mainstream" was very over – and because the prospect of being viciously attacked didn’t phase me in the least, I was undeterred. And I remain so to this day.


Bush's Legacy

Explains why you never hear a word about him any more...

Nearly 40 million Americans living in poverty.


Defending The Indefensible

John Howard writes an Op-ed. In The Australian of course:
LET'S start with some facts....


It's predictably downhill from there.

Meanwhile, I wonder if he'll be summoned to appear before the new AWB class action?

Where Are They Now?

Iraqi shoe thrower set to be released
Muntadhar al-Zeidi, is to be released on Monday after nine months in prison.

He will be greeted by a nation where many feel his act of protest encapsulated their own bitterness over the war and US occupation.

Parties and music are planned at his family's home in Baghdad, where his brother was hanging posters of him on Thursday.

But the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was deeply embarrassed by the outburst, will not be celebrating.


Where Are They Now?

Eschaton
Gone And Forgotten

Given how things were from 2001 until the presidential campaign heated up, it's really quite stunning how George W. Bush is utterly missing from our discourse. The conservative movement was for that period all about elevating Dear Leader, and now he's just gone.

-Atrios 15:09


September 09, 2009

Good Luck to You

Balibo probe: 'truth will finally be told' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The people who have done the most effort are the families of the Balibo Five and I personally feel that their work contributed to East Timor's journey to independence," he said.


"The News" Is Already Disappearing

Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers | AfterDowningStreet.org
Note: I wish to extend my thanks to Carlos SardiƱa Galache for alerting me to the latest developments in this important story, which was not mentioned in the English-speaking press, and for translating crucial passages.


THE GURU SPEAKS AGAIN!!!

Absolutely unbelievable. And they just report it!!!

BBC NEWS | Business | Market crisis 'will happen again'
The world will suffer another financial crisis, former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan has told the BBC.

"The crisis will happen again but it will be different," he told BBC Two's The Love of Money series.

He added that he had predicted the crash would come as a reaction to a long period of prosperity.


September 08, 2009

Bringing Democracy to Afghanistan

NOT!!!

BBC NEWS | South Asia | UN warns Afghans over poll fraud
Mr Karzai said on Monday in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro that "the Americans" were attacking him because they wanted him to be more docile.

He told the newspaper "nobody has an interest in the Afghan president becoming an American puppet".


Hmmnnnnnnnnnnnnn....

How Do You Put A Positive Spin On Child Casualties?

Well, first make sure the kid was hit by one of THEM...
Children cop brunt of Afghan war - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Eleven-year-old Abdul has been severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) - a homemade bomb laid by the Taliban.

Doctors scan Abdul's head looking for shrapnel and bleeding. The explosion was so powerful it killed his brother instantly, but doctors are hoping that Abdul's jaw and not his brain has taken the force of the blast.

"Half of his jaw was taken off, I didn't see his ear. It didn't seem to touch his brain, but you never know with IED blasts; they get frags everywhere," says trauma doctor Philippe Parent.

"If his brain is not affected, his prospects are quite good. We have facial surgery over here, so they're very good at reconstruction. The rest of his body seemed to be alright."

Although Abdul's face is still covered in the dirt from the explosion, his outlook is promising. It's some much-needed good news on a grim night.


Unfortunately, maintaining the spin is not so easy:
The next day, Abdul is doing well and breathing on his own. The doctors say he is stable.

But less than an hour after we filmed he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. Abdul died the following morning.
What? But surely there's some positive news here for readers??
Hospital staff found his father just in time so he could hold his son's hand.
Yes! Hurrah for the hospital staff!

We're doing a great job over there, I tell ya! And it's not our fault we don't care about the foreigners.
"We cannot feel the pain that these people have. We can try to imagine it, but we can't feel it," said Major Dauphin.
Of course we can't. Otherwise we would have to leave.

Are Australians Now The Stupidest People On Earth?

Lawd knows them durned Yanquis set a high bar...

UPDATE: Australia Business Confidence Leaps To 6-Year High - WSJ.com


It's All YOUR Fault, WP!

Well, according to David Corn... now if only we could get the rest of Washington to resign as well, we might be making progress.

How 9/11 Conspiracy Poison Did in Van Jones -- Politics Daily
As far as I can tell, the only thing the so-called 9/11 Truth movement has accomplished is this: it's caused the Obama administration to lose its most prominent expert on green jobs. So well done, Truthers. Thanks to you, the federal government will now be spending about $80 billion on green economy initiatives without the guiding hand of one of the most knowledgeable experts in this field.


Change We Can Believe In

Samoa moves to the left:
The switch from right to left side driving was being ushered in with a two-day national holiday to cut traffic volumes and a three-day ban on alcohol sales to avoid road crashes.

National Council of Churches chairman, Rev. Oka Fauoloto, held an early morning prayer service before Police Minister Toleafoa Faafisi used a national radio broadcast to instruct drivers everywhere to stop their vehicles.

Minutes later Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi broadcast the formal instructions for drivers to switch sides on the highways at 6 a.m. local time (1700 GMT Monday).

Then drivers were ordered to resume their journeys. While there was some hesitation, traffic was soon flowing with guidance from police and local authorities as hundreds of onlookers lined streets to witness the historical day.


Let's Call It "Dubya's W"


Stiglitz warns of economic double dip
"It is difficult to know whether or when there will be a W," as such a course of events is often described, Stiglitz told AFP.

"There are a number of substantial risks to the economy going forward. The risk to the financial sector, for instance, from commercial real estate ...

"And there are risks to the real sector caused by states having a shortfall of revenue and the withdrawal of (government) stimulus packages in 2011 will be a negative shock to the economy."

Stiglitz, former World Bank chief economist and an adviser to US former president Bill Clinton, said household balance sheets had been "destroyed", which has meant that "savings have gone up from zero to 7-9 per cent".

A rising savings rate cuts into consumer spending, which is responsible for roughly two-thirds of US economic growth.

An "inventory adjustment" is under way, as companies build up their stocks, Stiglitz said.

But "because of the uncertainties, people are not hiring, unemployment is very high and foreclosures are likely to remain high," he said.

"The result of this is that if these negatives I have described play out, which is very likely, when the inventory readjustment is over, the economy will go into a double dip."


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