Sunday, September 30, 2007

Look at these out-of-the-mainstream loony leftests at a protest in Portland OR yesterday.

Why can't they be more normal like Michelle Malkin or BillOrally? They're main stream.

On some planet or other.

Nice round-up here from leslie at No Quarter: [Open in new window]

News Roundup: The Push for War with Iran

Seymour Hersh’s latest article in the New Yorker reports that: the White House has tasked the Joint Chiefs of Staff with redrawing plans for a possible attack on Iran. The administration wants to shift away from Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, to Iran’s alleged interference in Iraq as the latest casus belli.

From the Telegraph: The US is training Gulf air forces [eg., the United Arab Emirates, Jordan] for war with Iran.

From the New York Times: The new, deep-pocketed conservative group Freedom Watch, which is led by two former senior White House officials, “will sponsor a private forum of 20 experts on radical Islam that is expected to make the case that Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States, according to several benefactors of the group.”

From Pakistan’s The News: Iraq’s vice president, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, says “his country will not be used as a base to launch attacks against Iran or Syria.”

From the AP: Iran’s parliament approved a non-binding resolution on Saturday to label the CIA and the US military “terrorist organizations.”

From Raw Story: The US is building a military base five miles from the Iraq-Iran border.

From Steve Clemons at the Washington Note: Clemons hopes someone will “ask Joe Wilson how he squares Hillary’s vote in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman Iran resolution…. Hillary helped give the White House (which she may very well occupy) implicit authority to trip into war with Iran. The Joe Wilson I know wouldn’t be too pleased with Hillary’s vote….”

Via the Progressive Daily Beacon, from the Telegraph: The Bush administration has ordered American diplomats to create a dossier detailing Iran’s violations of international law, which would probably be used to justify war. The full story is here.

Freedom Watch’s next target: Iran.

The New York Times reports that next month, the White House-front group Freedom’s Watch “will sponsor a private forum of 20 experts on radical Islam that is expected to make the case that Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States”:

Although the group declined to identify the experts, several were invited from the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research group with close ties to the White House. Some institute scholars have advocated a more confrontational policy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, including keeping military action as an option. […]

“If Hitler’s warnings were heeded when he wrote ‘Mein Kampf,’ he could have been stopped,” said Bradley Blakeman, 49, the president of Freedom’s Watch and a former deputy assistant to Mr. Bush. “Ahmadinejad is giving all the same kind of warning signs to us, and the region — he wants the destruction of the United States and the destruction of Israel.”...[Open in new window]


'The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing'

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what's really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America's Hitler, Bush's Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?

Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it's been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA's best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they've been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn't enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?

Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we've had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he's not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That's just their game.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?

Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You'd think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can't possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren't there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?

Hersh: Oh no. We're going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can't have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I'd actually be relieved because I'd know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he's doing God's work...[Open in new window]

Well, well, well, one of the biggest Bush/Cheney (et al) enabler's brain starts to work again; the inventor of the Friedman Unit ('six more months').

He loved the invasion, he loved the occupation but not anymore. Thanks a fuckin' lot, asshole.

Thomas Friedman: 9/11 Is Over

Not long ago, the satirical newspaper The Onion ran a fake news story that began like this:

“At a well-attended rally in front of his new ground zero headquarters Monday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani officially announced his plan to run for president of 9/11. ‘My fellow citizens of 9/11, today I will make you a promise,’ said Giuliani during his 18-minute announcement speech in front of a charred and torn American flag. ‘As president of 9/11, I will usher in a bold new 9/11 for all.’ If elected, Giuliani would inherit the duties of current 9/11 President George W. Bush, including making grim facial expressions, seeing the world’s conflicts in terms of good and evil, and carrying a bullhorn at all state functions.”

Like all good satire, the story made me both laugh and cry, because it reflected something so true — how much, since 9/11, we’ve become “The United States of Fighting Terrorism.” Times columnists are not allowed to endorse candidates, but there’s no rule against saying who will not get my vote: I will not vote for any candidate running on 9/11. We don’t need another president of 9/11. We need a president for 9/12. I will only vote for the 9/12 candidate.

What does that mean? This: 9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again.

You may think Guantánamo Bay is a prison camp in Cuba for Al Qaeda terrorists. A lot of the world thinks it’s a place we send visitors who don’t give the right answers at immigration. I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans. Guantánamo Bay is the anti-Statue of Liberty...[Open in new window]
The Mega-Lie Called the "War on Terror": A Masterpiece of Propaganda

By Richard W. Behan, AlterNet.

The fraudulence of the "War on Terror" is clearly revealed by looking at the pattern of actions that preceded and followed its launch.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie ... The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state." --Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the administration of George W. Bush has told and repeated a lie that is "big enough" to confirm Joseph Goebbels' testimony. It is a mega-lie, and the American people have come to believe it. It is the "War on Terror."

The Bush administration endlessly recites its mantra of deceit:

The War on Terror was launched in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is intended to enhance our national security at home and to spread democracy in the Middle East.

This is the struggle of our lifetime; we are defending our way of life from an enemy intent on destroying our freedoms. We must fight the enemy in the Middle East, or we will fight him in our cities.

This is classic propaganda. In Goebbels' terms, it is the "state" speaking its lie, but the political, economic, and military consequences of the Bush administration lie are coming into view, and they are all catastrophic. If truth is the enemy of both the lie and George Bush's "state," then the American people need to know the truth.

The military incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were not done in retaliation for 9/11. The Bush administration had them clearly in mind upon taking office, and they were set in motion as early as Feb. 3, 2001. That was seven months prior to the attacks on the Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and the objectives of the wars had nothing to do with terrorism.

This is beyond dispute. The mainstream press has ignored the story, but the administration's congenital belligerence is fully documented in book-length treatments and in the limitless information pool of the internet. (See my earlier work, for example.)...[Open in new window]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Needless to say, I am VERY excited about this. It should be at least as much fun as having Larry Craig (R-Idaho) watch you take a shit through the crack in a men's room stall or listening to O'Reilly sing to his loofah in the shower.

During the week of October 22-26, 2007, the nation will be rocked by the biggest conservative campus protest ever – Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week
, a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses.

The purpose of this protest is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear. In the face of the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted, the academic left has mobilized to create sympathy for the enemy and to fight anyone who rallies Americans to defend themselves. According to the academic left, anyone who links Islamic radicalism to the war on terror is an "Islamophobe." According to the academic left, the Islamo-fascists hate us not because we are tolerant and free, but because we are "oppressors."

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a national effort to oppose these lies and to rally American students to defend their country...[Open in new window]

O'Reilly: "[I]f I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed ... I would -- but I can't."

On the September 27 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing media coverage of his recent controversial comments about race, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asserted: "These people aren't getting away with this. I'm going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I'm coming after you." He went on to warn: "You smear somebody and you can't back it up, you're gonna get it. ... You go after somebody's family, you go after them and smear them with defamation that you can't back up, I'm coming to your house. I'm coming to your house. You'll have a camera up your nose. OK?" Later during the program, O'Reilly stated that newspapers such as The New York Times and the New York Daily News, "ran up to Harlem and they fed black Americans bogus quotes from Media Matters." Continuing, he said, "Now, the black Americans up there, they didn't listen to The Radio Factor. They didn't know this was coming from Media Matters. ... So, the reporter ... feeds them the quote, and of course they say bad things about me." O'Reilly called these newspapers' actions "the height of racism." Apparently referring to the media who he said "ran up to Harlem and ... fed black Americans bogus quotes from Media Matters," O'Reilly added, "[I]f I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed ... I would -- but I can't. ... All I can do is expose them. And I will."

After warning "corrupt media" figures that they are "on notice," O'Reilly stated: "I'm coming after you. And I don't care if it's Bill O'Reilly, [Sen.] Hillary Clinton, [Republican presidential candidates] Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, [Sen.] Barack Obama. Anybody smeared by any media from now on, I'm holding them accountable. I'm going to hunt you down. Got that?" He went on to tell listeners, "[M]y campaign to hold the corrupt media responsible is going to help your life. Because no longer will these smear merchants be allowed to get away with it, as long as I'm in the chair. As long as I'm here, I'm hunting them down. And that means everybody."...[Open in new window]


This imbecile needs to be off the airwaves. His schtick is not just funny anymore, it's certifiably insane. Morton Downey Jr. made more sense.

He's talking about 'hunting people down' for the crime of repeating exactly what he's said.

Bill, say something intelligent & the quotes will sound better. Violent paranoid delusions & racist spew sound horrible but they're your words. Take a break, no one's listening except old cranks anyway.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Ex-Nazi spies had dubious benefit for US - report

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The U.S. government apparently derived no clear benefit by recruiting ex-Nazis as Cold War spies, but potentially huge gaps remain in the public record of U.S. ties to World War Two war criminals, according to a report issued on Friday.

The report to Congress, by an interagency group that examined the United States' use of German and Japanese war criminals during and after the war, also said the CIA had no set policy for hiring former war criminals to spy on postwar foes including the Soviet Union.

The group, created by the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 and Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000, has released more than 8.5 million pages of previously classified government documents dating back to 1933.


Richard Ben-Veniste, another group member, said in the report that some of the latest documents, which were declassified in late 2006, show that the CIA had no clear policy about hiring former Nazis.

He cited a November 1960 CIA document quoting an agency official as saying: "We have no strong feelings against the use of a convicted Nazi today, provided he has something tangible to offer and is kept under close control. The question remains -- what has he to offer?"...[Open in new window]

Some bizarre pics of Cheney in a book store. (At least he CAN read, I'll give him that.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Details Emerge on Blackwater Role in Shooting: At least one guard kept firing after cease-fire

Published: September 28, 2007

BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 — Participants in a contentious Baghdad security operation this month have told American investigators that during the operation at least one guard continued firing on civilians while colleagues urgently called for a cease-fire. At least one guard apparently also drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting, an American official said.

The operation, by the private firm Blackwater USA, began as a mission to evacuate senior American officials after an explosion near where they were meeting, several officials said. Some officials have questioned the wisdom of evacuating the Americans from a secure compound, saying the area should instead have been locked down.

These new details of the episode on Sept. 16, in which at least eight civilians were killed, including a woman and an infant, were provided by an American official who was briefed on the American investigation by someone who helped conduct it, and by Americans who had spoken directly with two guards involved in the episode. Their accounts were broadly consistent.

A spokeswoman for Blackwater, Anne E. Tyrrell, said she could not confirm any of the details provided by the Americans.

The accounts provided the first glimpse into the official American investigation of the shooting, which has angered Iraqi officials and prompted calls by the Iraqi government to ban Blackwater from working in Iraq, and brought new scrutiny of the widespread use of private security contractors here....[Open in new window]

This has all been the fault of the MoveOn ad no doubt.
Dan Rather Stands by His Story

His lawsuit will attempt to show that CBS tried to suppress the report on Bush’s National Guard Service and the Abu Ghraib abuses.

by Sidney Blumenthal

Dan Rather’s complaint against CBS and Viacom, its parent company, filed in New York state court on Sept. 19 and seeking $70 million in damages for his wrongful dismissal as “CBS Evening News” anchor, has aroused hoots of derision from a host of commentators. They’ve said that the former anchor is “sad,” “pathetic,” “a loser,” on an “ego” trip and engaged in a mad gesture “no sane person” would do, and that “no one in his right mind would keep insisting that those phony documents are real and that the Bush National Guard story is true.”

If the court accepts his suit, however, launching the adjudication of legal issues such as breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with contract, it will set in motion an inexorable mechanism that will grind out answers to other questions as well. Then Rather’s suit will become an extraordinary commission of inquiry into a major news organization’s intimidation, complicity and corruption under the Bush administration. No congressional committee would be able to penetrate into the sanctum of any news organization to divulge its inner workings. But intent on vindicating his reputation, capable of financing an expensive legal challenge, and armed with the power of subpoena, Rather will charge his attorneys to interrogate news executives and perhaps administration officials under oath on a secret and sordid chapter of the Bush presidency.

In making his case, Rather will certainly establish beyond reasonable doubt that George W. Bush never completed his required service in the Texas Air National Guard. Moreover, Rather’s suit will seek to demonstrate that the documents used in his “60 Minutes II” piece were not inauthentic and that he and his producers acted responsibly in presenting them and the information they contained — and that that information is true. Indeed, no credible source has refuted the essential facts of the story.

Most cases of this sort are usually settled before discovery. But Rather has made plain that he is uninterested in a cash settlement. He has filed his suit precisely to be able to take depositions.

In his effort to demonstrate his mistreatment, Rather will detail how network executives curried favor with the administration, offering him up as a human sacrifice. The panel that CBS appointed and paid millions to in order to investigate Rather’s journalism will be exposed as a shoddy kangaroo court.

Rather’s complaint has already asserted a pattern of network submission to administration pressure, beginning with the Abu Ghraib story. In early 2004, Mary Mapes, a producer for “60 Minutes II” with more than two decades of experience, uncovered the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Her sources were sound and the evidence incontrovertible, but according to Rather’s complaint, “CBS management attempted to bury” the story. In a highly unusual move, then CBS News president Andrew Heyward and then senior vice president Betsy West personally intervened to demand editing changes and ever more “substantiation.”...[Open in new window]

Clinton rips right wing for ‘feigned outrage’ over MoveOn ad.

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, President Bill Clinton said there was something “completely disingenuous about the feigned outrage” from conservatives over the MoveOn ad. Clinton noted that many of the same conservatives who expressed outrage had likened Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) to Osama bin Laden and had smeared Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) war record. He added:

It was just bait and switch. It was just, oh thank goodness, I can take this little word here and ignore what we’ve done in Iraq and what we’re gonna do — and the outrageous way we gained political power by smearing John Kerry.

Watch it:[Open in new window]
They say St. Reagan was the 'great communicator'. Bullshit.

The guy was a piker compared to Bill Clinton. All airy-fairy non-sense.

Clinton picks it up & lays it down. The cat can blow. I wouldn't want him mad at me.
He's really smart, you know? For a punk-ass prep school wienie leader of the kid-touching-bathroom stall homosex family values party.

Source: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Offering a grammar lesson guaranteed to make any English teacher cringe, President George W. Bush told a group of New York school kids on Wednesday: "Childrens do learn."

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centerpiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.

The event drew New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings plus teachers and about 20 fourth and fifth graders from P.S. 76.

During his first presidential campaign, Bush -- who promised to be the "education president" -- once asked: "Is our children learning?"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Feds Allege Cunningham Conspirator Hid Docs Near Stash of "Embarrassing" Items

Yet another stop in the tour of all-around muck that is the Duke Cunningham case.

In a filing today, prosecutors allege that John Michael, who's been indicted for laundering Cunningham's bribes and lying to investigators, hid incriminating documents by keeping them with what prosecutors call "a stash of personal entertainment materials and paraphernalia." You can read the filing here.

The prosecutors don't identify exactly what those items are, but note that "Michael has expressed extreme embarrassment" over them and that "their nature objectively supports his perspective" (read: he has good reason to be embarrassed). They say that they'll identify the materials at a court hearing if need be.

Prosecutors want to introduce evidence of Michael's embarrassing "stash," in order to prove that he knew the Cunningham documents were, in their own way, as embarrassing. That he kept documentation of Cunningham's sketchy mortgage details in a place where he also stored "materials he did not want to anyone else to learn about" proves, they write, that he knew he was up to no good.

Part of the indictment against Michael, the nephew to Greek man of mystery Thomas Kontogiannis -- prosecutors call Michael and Kontogiannis "professional money launderers" -- is that he obstructed justice by forging record of the Cunningham mortgages and hiding others.

Michael is scheduled to go on trial along with Brent Wilkes in October, but a later trial date is expected to be set...[Open in new window]

Private Security Puts Diplomats, Military at Odds
Contractors in Iraq Fuel Debate

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, September 26, 2007; A01

BAGHDAD, Sept. 25 -- A confrontation between the U.S. military and the State Department is unfolding over the involvement of Blackwater USA in the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square Sept. 16, bringing to the surface long-simmering tensions between the military and private security companies in Iraq, according to U.S. military and government officials.

In high-level meetings over the past several days, U.S. military officials have pressed State Department officials to assert more control over Blackwater, which operates under the department's authority, said a U.S. government official with knowledge of the discussions. "The military is very sensitive to its relationship that they've built with the Iraqis being altered or even severely degraded by actions such as this event," the official said.

"This is a nightmare," said a senior U.S. military official. "We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib, and it comes at a time when we're trying to have an impact for the long term." The official was referring to the prison scandal that emerged in 2004 in which U.S. soldiers tortured and abused Iraqis.

In last week's incident, Blackwater guards shot into a crush of cars, killing at least 11 Iraqis and wounding 12. Blackwater officials insist their guards were ambushed, but witnesses have described the shooting as unprovoked. Iraq's Interior Ministry has concluded that Blackwater was at fault.

In interviews involving a dozen U.S. military and government officials, many expressed anger and concern over the shootings in Nisoor Square, in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood. Some worried it could undermine the military's efforts to stabilize Iraq this year with an offensive involving thousands of reinforcements.

"This is a big mess that I don't think anyone has their hands around yet," said another U.S. military official. "It's not necessarily a bad thing these guys are being held accountable. Iraqis hate them, the troops don't particularly care for them, and they tend to have a know-it-all attitude, which means they rarely listen to anyone -- even the folks that patrol the ground on a daily basis."

Most officials spoke on condition of anonymity because there are at least three ongoing investigations of Blackwater's role in the shootings. There are also sensitive discussions between various U.S. agencies and the Iraqi government over the future of Blackwater and other private security firms in Iraq.

A State Department official asked why the military is shifting the question to State "since the DOD has more Blackwater contractors than we do, including people doing PSD [personal security detail] for them. . . . They've [Blackwater] basically got contracts with DOD that are larger than the contracts with State."

According to federal spending data compiled by the independent Web site, however, the State Department's Blackwater contracts vastly exceed those of the Pentagon. Since 2004, State has paid Blackwater $833,673,316, compared with Defense Department contracts of $101,219,261...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blackburn focused more on MoveOn ad than troop deaths.

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) repeatedly condemned the recent ad about Gen. Petraeus. But when host David Shuster asked her for the name of the last soldier from her district killed in Iraq, Blackburn faltered. Schuster informed her of the soldier’s name and added, “When was the last time a New York Times ad ever killed somebody?” Watch it:[Open in new window]


Watch this. Or listen. Whatever. It's sad, angry-making & pathetic all at once. It sums up the moral & intellectual bankrupcy of cookie-cutter 'conservatives' pretty well. Especially the blonde bimbo variety. She doesn't know shit about what she's talking about & yet & yet she keeps talking, talking, talking.

That's what the 'conservative' movement's become: talking, talking, talking. Blood spills by the bucketfull, profits climb & climb & all they do is talk.

They're the patriots, you know?

My fat, pasty, white ass they're the patriots! They're degenerate morons & I hate them. Hate, hate, hate them.

A good way to deal with them is the way the French dealt with the Vichy collaborators after WWII.

What this country needs is an epoch of left populism.


Monday, September 24, 2007

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I’m just wondering if it troubles Mr. Greenspan at all that wars over resources in other countries are actually illegal. Mr. Greenspan has praised the rule of law, the importance of the rule of law, in his book. But in his statements about the reasons why this has not been publicly discussed, he has said that it’s not politically expedient at this moment. But it’s not just that it’s not politically expedient, Mr. Greenspan. Are you aware that, according to the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources?...[Open in new window]

Make-Believe Reagan

In Fred Thompson's fantasy world, all you have to do to be president is pretend you're the Gipper and act tough on TV

Matt Taibbi

I can say exactly when I first knew that Fred Dalton Thompson is dangerous. It is 12:07 p.m. on Sunday, September 9th, in Manchester, New Hampshire, just outside a restaurant called Chez Vachon. Thompson has just served up another mumbling, noncommittal tour through a packed diner of breakfasting locals, sitting glumly through the requisite this-sure-is-great-coffee shot. Then, once the needed photos are banked, the lumbering B-list character actor -- who plays a video called "The Hunt for Red November" at every campaign stop and sells buttons that, in an unsettlingly McLuhanian twist, pimp him as the "Law and Order candidate" -- tries to make a quick beeline back to his bus. But a cheeky local TV reporter shouts at him before he can reach the door.

"Senator!" the reporter calls out. "What's harder, playing the president or being the president?"

It is a shitty New Hampshire day; as Thompson stands on the street in a blue polo shirt, cold rain splashes visibly off his bald head. There are times when the candidate's eyes go blank and you almost see a big sign in his brain screaming, "Line! Line!" Finally, he glances back at the reporter and grumbles, "Well, neither of 'em are that hard."

I turn to the TV guy, not sure of what I'd just heard.

"Did he just say . . . ?"

"Yeah," the guy says, dumbfounded. "He just said being president isn't that hard."

I'm still trying to process this when I spot Carl Cameron, the right-wing hatchet man for Fox News. Cameron is whaling on Thompson, doing a mocking impersonation of the candidate's "Security, Unity, Prosperity" campaign shtick.

"We're, uh, gonna be yoo-nited bah owre yoo-nity!" Cameron cracks.

A crowd of reporters doubles over in laughter. Then they get in their vehicles and chase after Thompson to the next event, so they can feverishly record those same hackneyed lines again and again for posterity. They'll laugh in private, but they'll be repeating that shit on air with a straight face for the next 400 days.

Well, I think as I stand by myself on the curb, so much for Fred Thompson. After all, logic dictates that anyone who's too much of a lightweight for Fox News is probably...

I freeze. Probably what? Probably a shoo-in for the presidency, that's what! I shudder as I realize my mistake, and suddenly the candidacy of Fred Thompson, which seemed impossibly silly just a few minutes ago, makes deadly serious sense. Thompson may act like a blank slate -- a homespun version of Being There hero Chauncey Gardiner running on a platform of "Whatever you say" and "I'll get back to you on that" -- but he represents something else that no one, after seven years of George W. Bush, could possibly have expected: a new low. It was bad enough when the GOP field was led by a grinning Mormon corporatist and a fascist ex-mayor itching to take his prostate pain out on the world, but Thompson is the worst yet -- a human snooze button, campaigning baldly for the head-in-the-sand vote by asking Americans not to think but to change the channel.

And that, after all, is what the campaign trail is all about. Give voters a chance to go lower than they've ever gone before, and you'll get numbers in a heartbeat. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the next Republican front-runner...[Open in new window]

The whitest white man in America weighs in on Jena:

Gibson on Jena demonstrators: "Black devils stalking their streets," but "[t]hey wanna fight the white devil"

[Open in new window]

The Big Neo-Con

by BooMan
Mon Sep 24th, 2007 at 04:38:00 PM EST

Even though I pegged the 'Syria has North Korean nuclear weapons' story as horsecrap from the get-go, it's nice to get some confirmation. Nonetheless, the surfeit of stories that were seeded throughout the British and neo-con press shows that something is afoot. Perhaps Seymour Hersh put it best in a recent interview with Jewish Journal:

JJ: You turned 70 this year. Why keep working so hard?
SH: I don't work that hard. I write four or five pieces a year. Secondly, what do you want me to do? Play professional golf? I can't do that. You do what you can do. And I'm in a funny spot because I have an ability to communicate with people I have known for a number of years. They trust me, and I trust them, so I keep on doing these little marginal stories.

JJ: That's all they are? Marginal?
SH: With these stories, if they slow down or make people take a deep breath before they bomb Iran, that is a plus. But they are not going to stop anybody. This is a government that is unreachable by us, and that is very depressing. In terms of adding to the public debate, the stories are important. But not in terms of changing policy. I have no delusions about that.

Hersh also has some good advice for Democrats.

JJ: Bush recently compared Iraq to Vietnam in a positive way. What do you think he learned from the Vietnam War?
SH: He seems to have learned from lessons that were not very valid. Nobody wants to be a loser. Bush is going to disengage to some degree, and he's going to claim the country is more stable. He's just going to say whatever he wants, and he's going to get away with it because who knows what is going on in Basra. Nobody I know in their right mind would go down there. You'd get whacked. And the Democrats have fallen into the trap of saying, "We shouldn't get out." As far as I am concerned, there are only two issues: Option A is to get out by midnight tonight, and Option B is to get out by midnight tomorrow.

With Israel attacking chemical weapons sites in Syria and Cheney seeding the press for war with Iran, I somehow think the debate over what to do in Iraq is about to be overtaken by other, ahem, events.

“The Republican Party has won two elections on the issue of fear and terrorism. They’re going to try again.” —Retiring Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska)

"We are greatly concerned about any possible linkup between terrorists and regimes that have or seek weapons of mass destruction...In the case of Saddam Hussein, we've got a dictator who is clearly pursuing and already possesses some of these weapons. A regime that hates America and everything we stand for must never be permitted to threaten America with weapons of mass destruction."

- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Detroit, Fund-Raiser

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Speech to VFW National Convention

"There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons for the purpose of using them. And adding additional information is like adding a foot to Mount Everest."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Response to Question From Press

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

- Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor
CNN Late Edition

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

- George W. Bush, President
Speech to UN General Assembly

"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

- George W. Bush, President
Radio Address

"The Iraqi regime...possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."

- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio Speech

"And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons."

- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio Speech

"After eleven years during which we have tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon."

- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio Speech

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas."

- George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio Speech

"Iraq, despite UN sanctions, maintains an aggressive program to rebuild the infrastructure for its nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile programs. In each instance, Iraq's procurement agents are actively working to obtain both weapons-specific and dual-use materials and technologies critical to their rebuilding and expansion efforts, using front companies and whatever illicit means are at hand."

- John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
Speech to the Hudson Institute

"We estimate that once Iraq acquires fissile material -- whether from a foreign source or by securing the materials to build an indigenous fissile material capability -- it could fabricate a nuclear weapon within one year. It has rebuilt its civilian chemical infrastructure and renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard, sarin, and VX. It actively maintains all key aspects of its offensive BW program."

- John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
Speech to the Hudson Institute

"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or to individual terrorists...The war on terror will not be won until Iraq is completely and verifiably deprived of weapons of mass destruction."

- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Denver, Address To Air National Guard

"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

"The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Response to Question From Press

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

"I am absolutely convinced, based on the information that's been given to me, that the weapon of mass destruction which can kill more people than an atomic bomb -- that is, biological weapons -- is in the hands of the leadership of Iraq."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
MSNBC Interview

"What is unique about Iraq compared to, I would argue, any other country in the world, in this juncture, is the exhaustion of diplomacy thus far, and, No. 2, this intersection of weapons of mass destruction."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
NewsHour Interview

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

- George W. Bush, President
State of the Union Address

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

- George W. Bush, President
State of the Union Address

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to UN Security Council

"There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Addresses the U.N. Security Council

"In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world -- and we will not allow it."

- George W. Bush, President
Speech to the American Enterprise Institute

"If Iraq had disarmed itself, gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction over the past 12 years, or over the last several months since (UN Resolution) 1441 was enacted, we would not be facing the crisis that we now have before us...But the suggestion that we are doing this because we want to go to every country in the Middle East and rearrange all of its pieces is not correct."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Interview with Radio France International

"I am not eager to send young Americans into harm's way in Iraq, or to see innocent people killed or hurt in military operations. Given all of the facts and circumstances known to us, however, I am convinced that if we wait, a threat will continue to materialize in Iraq that could cause incalculable damage to world peace in general, and to the United States in particular."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
Letter to Future of Freedom Foundation

"Iraq is a grave threat to this nation. It desires to acquire and use weapons of mass terror and is run by a despot with a proven record of willingness to use them. Iraq has had 12 years to comply with UN requirements for disarmament and has failed to do so. The president is right to say it's time has run out."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
Senate Speech

"So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? I think our judgment has to be clearly not."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to UN Security Council

"Getting rid of Saddam Hussein's regime is our best inoculation. Destroying once and for all his weapons of disease and death is a vaccination for the world."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
Washington Post op-ed

"Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We know that based on intelligence, that has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

- Dick Cheney, Vice President
Meet The Press

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

- George W. Bush, President
Address to the Nation

"The United now at war so we will not ever see what terrorists could do if supplied with weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
Senate Debate

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them."

- General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief Central Command
Press Conference

"One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites."

- Victoria Clark, Pentagon Spokeswoman
Press Briefing

"I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction."

- Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board member
Washington Post, p. A27

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
ABC Interview

"We simply cannot live in fear of a ruthless dictator, aggressor and terrorist such as Saddam Hussein, who possesses the world's most deadly weapons."

- Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader
Speech to American Israel Political Action Committee

"We still need to find and secure Iraq's weapons of mass destruction facilities and secure Iraq's borders so we can prevent the flow of weapons of mass destruction materials and senior regime officials out of the country."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Conference

"You bet we're concerned about it. And one of the reasons it's important is because the nexus between terrorist states with weapons of mass destruction...and terrorist groups -- networks -- is a critical link. And the thought that...some of those materials could leave the country and in the hands of terrorist networks would be a very unhappy prospect. So it is important to us to see that that doesn't happen."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Conference

"Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find -- and there will be plenty."

- Robert Kagan, Neocon scholar
Washington Post op-ed

"I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

"But make no mistake -- as I said earlier -- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

"Were not going to find anything until we find people who tell us where the things are. And we have that very high on our priority list, to find the people who know. And when we do, then well learn precisely where things were and what was done."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Meet the Press

"I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country. Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, 'Oh, well, there's actually another site,' and we'll find it there, I'm not sure."

- General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief Central Command
Fox News

"We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them."

- George W. Bush, President
NBC Interview

"There are people who in large measure have information that we that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Briefing

"We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so."

- George W. Bush, President
Remarks to Reporters

"I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Remarks to Reporters

"We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Fox News Interview

"I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program."

- George W. Bush, President
Remarks to Reporters

"U.S. officials never expected that 'we were going to open garages and find' weapons of mass destruction."

- Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor
Reuters Interview

"I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden."

- Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne
Press Briefing

"We said all along that we will never get to the bottom of the Iraqi WMD program simply by going and searching specific sites, that you'd have to be able to get people who know about the programs to talk to you."

- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Interview with Australian Broadcasting

"Before the war, there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found."

- Gen. Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Interview with Reporters

"It's going to take time to find them, but we know he had them. And whether he destroyed them, moved them or hid them, we're going to find out the truth. One thing is for certain: Saddam Hussein no longer threatens America with weapons of mass destruction."

- George W. Bush, President
Speech at a weapons factory in Ohio

"Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction."

- Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
NBC Today Show interview

"They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Remarks to Council on Foreign Relations

"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Vanity Fair interview

"The President is indeed satisfied with the intelligence that he received. And I think that's borne out by the fact that, just as Secretary Powell described at the United Nations, we have found the bio trucks that can be used only for the purpose of producing biological weapons. That's proof-perfect that the intelligence in that regard was right on target."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

"We have teams of people that are out looking. They've investigated a number of sites. And within the last week or two, they have in fact captured and have in custody two of the mobile trailers that Secretary Powell talked about at the United Nations as being biological weapons laboratories."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Infinity Radio Interview

"But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."

- George W. Bush, President
Interview with TVP Poland

"You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons...They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two...And we'll find more weapons as time goes on."

- George W. Bush, President
Press Briefing

"It was a surprise to me then -- it remains a surprise to me now -- that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."

- Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
Press Interview

"Do I think we're going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do, because I think there's a lot of information out there."

- Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, Defense Intelligence Agency
Press Conference

"This wasn't material I was making up, it came from the intelligence community."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Press Briefing

"We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents. This is the man who spent decades hiding tools of mass murder. He knew the inspectors were looking for them. You know better than me he's got a big country in which to hide them. We're on the look. We'll reveal the truth."

- George W. Bush, President Camp Sayliya, Qatar

"I would put before you Exhibit A, the mobile biological labs that we have found. People are saying, 'Well, are they truly mobile biological labs?' Yes, they are. And the DCI, George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, stands behind that assessment."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Fox News Interview

"No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were, where they were stored."

- Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor
Meet the Press

"What the president has said is because it's been the long-standing view of numerous people, not only in this country, not only in this administration, but around the world, including at the United Nations, who came to those conclusions...And the president is not going to engage in the rewriting of history that others may be trying to engage in."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Response to Question From Press

"Iraq had a weapons program...Intelligence throughout the decade showed they had a weapons program. I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out they did have a weapons program."

- George W. Bush, President
Comment to Reporters

"The biological weapons labs that we believe strongly are biological weapons labs, we didn't find any biological weapons with those labs. But should that give us any comfort? Not at all. Those were labs that could produce biological weapons whenever Saddam Hussein might have wanted to have a biological weapons inventory."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Associated Press Interview

"Those documents were only one piece of evidence in a larger body of evidence suggesting that Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa...The issue of Iraq's pursuit of uranium in Africa is supported by multiple sources of intelligence. The other sources of evidence did and do support the president's statement."

- Sean McCormack, National Security Council Spokesman
Statement to press

"My personal view is that their intelligence has been, I'm sure, imperfect, but good. In other words, I think the intelligence was correct in general, and that you always will find out precisely what it was once you get on the ground and have a chance to talk to people and explore it, and I think that will happen."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Press Briefing

"I have reason, every reason, to believe that the intelligence that we were operating off was correct and that we will, in fact, find weapons or evidence of weapons, programs, that are conclusive. But that's just a matter of time...It's now less than eight weeks since the end of major combat in Iraq and I believe that patience will prove to be a virtue."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Pentagon media briefing

MS. BLOCK: There were no toxins found in those trailers. SECRETARY POWELL: Which could mean one of several things: one, they hadn't been used yet to develop toxins; or, secondly, they had been sterilized so thoroughly that there is no residual left. It may well be that they hadn't been used yet.

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
All Things Considered, Interview

"That was the concern we had with Saddam Hussein. Not only did he have weapons -- and we'll uncover not only his weapons but all of his weapons programs -- he never lost the intent to have these kinds of weapons."

- Colin Powell, Secretary of State
All Things Considered, Interview

"I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."

- Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary
Press Briefing

click to enlarge
Wolfowitz and his 1992 Strategy of World Dominance: “The Defense Planning Guidance”
By: John Amato on Sunday, September 23rd, 2007 at 7:11 PM - PDT

Nicole linked this article up once before, but I think it merits its own post. This document that was leaked to the NY Times back in 1992, explains in detail the Neocon wet dream of world domination. One wonders if the media would have looked at the cabinet Bush put together when he took office and then asked some real questions about Wolfie’s plan of world domination. I guess they had other things to do.

These scenarios, issued separately to the military services on Feb. 4, were detailed in a New York Times article last month. They postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea, as well as a Russian assault on Lithuania and smaller military contingencies that United States forces might confront in the future.

These hypothetical conflicts, coupled with the policy guidance document, are meant to give military leaders specific information about the kinds of military threats they should be prepared to meet as they train and equip their forces. It is also intended to give them a coherent strategy framework in which to evaluate various force and training options…read on

Here it is. The PNAC’ers plan right in front of our media. And you’d think the NY Times would have taken the lead on this since they actually published it. Oh, that’s right. Judy Miller and Michael Gordon had other ideas. When the administration turned its attention to Iraq—-flashing red lights should have gone off…[Open in new window]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shock and Awe!!!!!!! /

I’ve been reading Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine and it’s a remarkable work. She advances a theory of “disaster capitalism” moulded around the work of Milton Friedman, who advocated taking advantage of the “shock” suffered by a populace in the midst of disaster in order to get them to agree to things they ordinarily would organize and fight against.

She cites the land grab in southeast Asia after the tsunami that seized local fishing harbors for huge tourist resorts as well as the privatization of the public school system in New Orleans as prime examples of this. (BTW, she does not think that Hurricane Katrina was mismanaged due to either incompetence or cronyism, but rather by intent, in order to facilitate “orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events.”)

She traces the history of Friedman and the Chicago School economists who used Chile and Indonesia as their petri dishes, and maintains that there are three parts to the “shock” doctrine:

Chile’s coup, when it finally came, would feature three distinct forms of shock, a recipe that would be duplicated in neighboring countries and would reemerge, three decades later, in Iraq. The shock of the coup itself was immediately followed by two additional forms of shock. One was Milton Friedman’s capitalist “shock treatment,” a technique in which hundreds of Latin American economists had by now been trained at the University of Chicago and its various franchise institutions. The other was Ewen Cameron’s shock, drug and sensory deprivation research, now codified as torture techniques in the Kubark manual and disseminated through extensive CIA training programs for Latin America police and military.

These three forms of shock converged on the bodies of Latin Americans and the body politic of the region, creating an unstoppable hurricane of mutually reinforcing destruction and reconstruction, erasure and creation. The shock of the coup prepared the ground for economic shock therapy; the shock of the torture chamber terrorized anyone thinking of standing in the way of the economic shocks. Out of this live laboratory emerged the first Chicago School state, and the first victory in its global counterrevolution.

Ewen Cameron’s research in the 50s at McGill University’s Allan Memorial Institute for the CIA involved the use of sensory deprivation, drugs and electroshock to “brainwash” his subjects and create a “clean slate” such that he could get people to agree to things they would normally fight against.

Sound familiar?

Mamdouh Habib, an Australian who was incarcerated there, has said that “Guantanamo Bay is an experiment…and what they experiment in is brainwashing.” Indeed, in the testimonies, reports and photographs that have come out of Guantanamo, it is as if the Allan Memorial Institute of the 1950s had been transported to Cuba. When first detained, prisoners are put into intense sensory deprivation, with hoods, blackout goggles and heavy headphones to block out all sound. They are left in isolation cells for months, taken out only to have their senses bombarded with barking dogs, strobe lights and endless tape loops of babies crying, music blaring and cats meowing.

For many prisoners, the effects of these techniques have been much the same as they were at the Allan in the fifties: total regression. One released prisoner, a British citizen, told his lawyers that there is now an entire section of the prison, Delta Block, reserved for “at least fifty” detainees who are in permanently delusional states.

Today, from the AP:

Attorneys for at least 40 Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been barred from visiting or writing their clients because of a judge’s order dismissing legal challenges to the men’s confinement, the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday.

A Justice Department lawyer informed the attorneys of the new restrictions in an e-mail that cited Thursday’s dismissal of their cases by District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina in Washington.

“In light of this development, counsel access (both legal mail and in-person visits) is no longer permitted,” Justice Department lawyer Andrew I. Warden said in the e-mail.

Torture isn’t the unfortunate result of “a few bad apples,” nor is it the byproduct of a George Bush personality disorder (though that probably doesn’t hurt).

It’s part of the program.


U.S. Repeatedly Rebuffed Iraq on Blackwater Complaints

Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, September 23, 2007; Page A18

BAGHDAD, Sept. 22 -- Senior Iraqi about Blackwater USA's alleged involvement in the deaths of numerous Iraqis, but the Americans took little action to regulate the private security firm until 11 Iraqis were shot dead last Sunday, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Before that episode, U.S. officials were made aware in high-level meetings and formal memorandums of Blackwater's alleged transgressions. They included six violent incidents this year allegedly involving the North Carolina firm that left a total of 10 Iraqis dead, the officials said.

"There were no concrete results," Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamal, the deputy interior minister who oversees the private security industry on behalf of the Iraqi government, said in an interview Saturday.

The lack of a U.S. response underscores the powerlessness of Iraqi officials to control the tens of thousands of security contractors who operate under U.S.-drafted Iraqi regulations that shield them from Iraqi laws. It also raises questions about how seriously the United States will seek to regulate Blackwater, now the subject of at least three investigations by Iraqi and U.S. authorities. Blackwater, which operates under State Department authority, protects nearly all senior U.S. politicians and civilian officials here...[Open in new window]

Cheney may have mulled Israeli pretext for U.S. attack on Iran

By Haaretz Service

Newsweek Magazine reported Sunday that Vice President Richard Cheney may have considered a plan for Israeli missile strikes against an Iranian nuclear site in an effort to draw a military response from Iran, which could in turn spark a U.S. offensive against targets in the Islamic Republic.

Citing two unnamed sources the magazine called knowledgeable, the magazine quoted David Wurmser, until last month Cheney's Middle East advisor, as having told a small group of people that "Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz - and perhaps other sites - in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out."

According to the report, "The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran."

Newsweek said that it had corroborated Wurmser's remarks, which it said were first published by Washington foreign-policy blogger Steven Clemons.

It quoted a spokeswoman at Cheney's office as saying in response that the vice president "supports the president's policy on Iran."...[Open in new window]

Saturday, September 22, 2007

...and now it's time to play get to know your murderous right-wing Christian war-profiteer. Here's ERIK PRINCE!!!

Born: 1970
Birthplace: Holland, MI

Gender: Male
Religion: Born-Again Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Military
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Blackwater USA mercenary firm

Military service: Navy SEAL Team Officer (1993-96, Bosnia, Haiti)

Erik Prince is a multi-millionaire right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan Republican family. His wealth came from his father, Edgar Prince, who headed Prince Automotive, an auto parts and machinery manufacturer.

A major Republican campaign contributor, he interned in the White House of President George H.W. Bush and campaigned for Pat Buchanan in 1992, finding time to intern for conservative congressman Dana Rohrabacher as well. Prince founded the mercenary firm Blackwater USA in 1997 with Gary Jackson, another former Navy SEAL.

Prince's sister Betsy DeVos is a powerful conservative in her own right. Married to the son of Richard DeVos (Republican bankroller and co-founder of Amway), she served as chair of Michigan Republican Party in the 1990s.

Father: Edgar Prince (d. 1995, billionaire, started Family Research Council with Gary Bauer)
Mother: Elsa Prince Broekhuizen (Republican Party funder, remarried)
Sister: Betsy DeVos (former chair, Michigan Republican Party, m. Dick DeVos, Amway scion)
Sister: Emilie Prince
Sister: Eileen Prince
Wife: Joan (four children, d. 2003, cancer)
Daughter: Sophia

High School: Holland Christian High School, Holland, MI
University: Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI

Blackwater USA Co-Founder and CEO (1997)
Family Research Council College intern
DeVos Family by sister's marriage

[Open in new window]
Mental/Emotional Health Status: Nut
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi investigators have a videotape that shows Blackwater USA guards opened fire against civilians without provocation in an incident last week in which 11 people died, a senior Iraqi official said Saturday. He said the case had been referred to the Iraqi judiciary.

Iraq's president, meanwhile, demanded that the Americans release an Iranian arrested this week on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Shiite militias. The demand adds new strains to U.S.-Iraqi relations only days before a meeting between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said Iraqi authorities had completed an investigation into Thursday's shooting in Nisoor Square in western Baghdad and concluded that Blackwater guards were responsible for the deaths.

He told The Associated Press that the conclusion was based on witness statements as well as videotape shot by cameras at the nearby headquarters of the national police command. He said eight people were killed at the scene and three of the 15 wounded died in hospitals...[Open in new window]
This just in...Former Senate majority leader Bill Frist was called in to view the video & his diagnosis is that the Iraqis are still alive, as is Terri Schiavo.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So, it's come to this.

Just how badly does Paris Hilton need another tax break? How long should an occupation, that benefits no one but oil companies & arms manufacturers (& the people invested in them), go on?

Bridges fall into rivers, whole cities are wiped out when the levees break and now cripples are going to walk to school.
Who voted for this guy?

The only government you need to be afraid of is a government run by people who don't believe in goverment.

It really started with St. Reagan, the first mentally ill/figurehead president. It keeps getting worse. Time for a new, new deal.

Administration to cut school buses for disabled children

By Aurelio Rojas - Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 6:46 pm PDT Friday, September 21, 2007

The Bush Administration plans to stop reimbursing states for school-based Medicaid activities, including transporting disabled students, a move that would cost California schools more than $100 million a year.

Districts are scrambling to figure out how to pay the bill because federal law requires schools to provide special services for disabled students.

"If the money stops, districts are going to have to find the money somewhere else in their budgets," said Suzi Rader, director of district and financial services for the California School Boards Association.

Public comments on the rule change, published Sept. 7 in the Federal Register, are due by Nov. 7. The cuts will take effect by the 2008-09 school year unless the administration changes its mind -- which is unlikely based on the administration's record.

Sacramento City Unified School District and other school districts rely on the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, known as Medi-Cal in California, to pay a portion of the costs of transporting disabled children.

The Sacramento unified district transports 1,100 special-needs children each day -- including some confined to wheel chairs -- and is still calculating the potential costs.

Peter Michaelson: American Albatross: The Curse of Stupidity

Like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, the architects of the American way of life trundle down the highway ass-backwards, pathetically comic in the tragedy of their unnecessary stupidity.

We won't count the ways: The list of stupid actions and beliefs infesting our politics, economics, and social life has grown too long. The latest example concerns the refusal to allow Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Ground Zero when he attends the opening in New York City next week of the United Nations General Assembly.

City authorities have apparently denied the request over alleged concerns about security. Nonsense! A lame excuse!

Do they expect Ahmadinejad to spit on the sacred ground of the former World Trade Center? At the site, he would presumably say something appropriate about the loss of life -- he would look cruel and foolish if he didn't.

Asked about such a visit, a White House spokesman said that "Ground Zero would be an odd place for the president of a country that is a state sponsor of terror to visit." By that logic, why even allow Ahmadinejad into the country? Or let's arrest him and send him to Guantanamo Bay when he steps off the plane.

Presidential candidates chipped in. "It is unacceptable," said Hilary Clinton. "Under no circumstances," said Rudolph Guiliani. "A vehement no," said Mitt Romney. Time magazine said the Iranian president's request is "a transparently political stunt" aimed at his audience in Iran. Nevertheless, the magazine said in an online report, he can only benefit from our demonization of him. He becomes more popular and his "stock rises when Americans put him down."

Agreed! Refusing him a visit to the site is not smart. Let's be smart: In the coming decades, technological "advances" are very likely to make weapons of mass destruction easily accessible to potential or actual enemies of the United States. Isn't it probable that one protection against them will be our goodwill and the open lines of diplomacy and communication we have established to all quarters of the world? Perhaps our best protection will be the quality of our humanity. Isn't true power the ability to develop friendship with and instill trust in those who have ambivalent or hostile feelings toward us?

We would create goodwill throughout the world by graciously allowing Ahmadinejad to visit Ground Zero. Even if his motives are impure, our power is displayed to the world in our graciousness and our lack of fear.

A moratorium on stupidity would also be very helpful. Wasn't it stupid of the Senate to vote this week, by 72-25, to condemn a ad in The New York Times that criticized U.S. policy in Iraq? Why don't senators vote 72-25 to get out of Iraq? Where does all our stupidity come from? Electing George W. Bush in 2000 was stupid. Repeating the error in 2004 was stunningly stupid. Invading Iraq was stupid. Staying there is stupid. Running up gargantuan private, corporate, and government debt is stupid. Overheating the world is stupid. Where does it end?

Bush is just the tip of this obliviousness. He was elevated by deluded people who divide the world into good and evil and profit and loss. But we're all in this together. We need to be cajoled or shocked out of our stupidity.

The stupidity is apparent in religious fundamentalism, which divides the world into good and evil. Let's all pray that fundamentalists begin to understand why they do this. They are projecting onto others what they don't want to look at in themselves, namely their repressed sexuality and the cauldron of guilt, shame, passivity, and unworthiness gurgling in their psyche.

Let's all pray for the Democrats, too. Author James Carroll, a Boston Globe columnist, said this week that even the Democratic presidential candidates are influenced by this "good us" versus "evil them" paradigm. "What I hear from them, too, is a world divided between the good and the bad." These Democrats also display little capacity for criticism of themselves and of America, Carroll said. Nor do they show any doubt as to the assumed benevolence of American behaviors and intentions in the world.

The repression practiced by fundamentalists (along with others of us who deny our inner conflicts and the unresolved issues that cause us to blunder with, say, our careers or relationships) degrades their capacity for creative and effective thinking and acting. Their intelligence gets tangled up and worn out in the repression. To avoid self-scrutiny, much of their psychic energy is used up for defenses, rationalizations, and blaming.

Another expression of stupidity is economic fundamentalism, which proclaims the sanctity and self-regulating genius of the marketplace. This doctrine, now bankrupting the country and possibly the world, is promoted by profiteers of the system who themselves are unregulated. No moral authority guides their actions. Their instincts are primal, predatory, self-aggrandizing. They operate from fear as much as greed. Their fear of loss or deprival is accentuated by their inner emptiness. They are stupid people, though extravagantly cunning, who are orchestrating their own defeat and bringing pain to us all.

What would be more stupid than the loss of our democracy? Inside each of us is the power to prevent that from happening. Attention to our inner self confirms our goodness, our value, and our sovereignty. Our democracy is protected when we clear away our fears, self-doubt, and stupidity.

The following excerpt from John Dean's column at FindLaw defines the audience for right-wing media bloviators almost perfectly. This is who they're talking to, feeding the defense mechanisms brought about by their inner wounds.

Why 'wounds'? Because this defines family life almost perfectly too. Mine, anyway & so many people I've talked to.

People aren't born to be this way but the games begin early.

I have no answers. I have no children. That's been my answer. But I'm pretty tired of being ruled by & living among the damaged 'authoritarian personalities' running rampant in the world.

If there were fewer such people think of what a better world it would be. Consider what freedom might feel like. Kinda good, huh?

The Followers: Right-Wing Authoritarians

Princeton political scientist Fred I. Greenstein has cautioned about the uses of personality in analyzing political activity; in fact, he directly addressed "the tangled history of studies of authoritarianism." He noted, however, that while the study of authoritarian personalities once seemed to be at a "dead end," that has proven not to be the case. Rather, "in the 1980s an ingenious and rigorous program of inquiry by Altemeyer (1981, 1988) furnished persuasive empirical evidence that the original authoritarian construct was an approximation of an important political-psychological regularity--the existence in some individuals of an inner makeup that disposes them to defer to authority figures."

These, of course, are followers. Altemeyer labeled these people "right-wing authoritarians" not because he was looking to target political conservatives, but rather because he was drawing broadly on the historical terms that identify those who openly submit to established authorities, and whether those authorities are political, economic or religious, those who submit to them are traditionally described as being on the right wing. As Altemeyer developed and refined his testing, however, it became apparent that those who tested as highly submissive to economic or religious authorities also proved to be hard-right political conservatives.

In addition to being especially submissive to established authority, Altemeyer's research revealed that those he calls right-wing authoritarians also show "general aggressiveness" towards others, when such behavior is "perceived to be sanctioned" by established authorities. Finally, these people are always highly compliant with the social conventions endorsed by society and established authorities. These basic traits, submissiveness to authority and conventionality, are the essence of those Altemeyer describes as right-wing authoritarians. If these traits are not present in some significant (albeit varying) degree, he does not consider the subject to be a right-wing authoritarian. However, these people can, and often do, consistently reveal they have many other interesting traits as well.

Based on Altemeyer's study, as well as those of other social psychologists, I prepared a list of the additional traits that these personalities, both men and women who test high as right-wing authoritarians, often evidence: highly religious, moderate to little education, trust untrustworthy authorities, prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals, women, and followers of religions other than their own), mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, uncritical toward their chosen authority, hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, moralistic, strict disciplinarian, severely punitive, demands loyalty and returns it, little self-awareness, usually politically and economically conservative/Republican...[Open in new window]