Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How many mainstream media reporters does it take to count demonstrators?

None. They just publish counts by "unnamed police sources." Thus the NY Times can claim that there were "tens of thousands" of war and Bush protestors in DC on Jan. 27th, when in fact there were 100's of thousands, perhaps as many as a half million.

Remarkably, with the change in Congress, the MSM seemed more willing to give coverage to the event than previous Iraq war protests, though the wingnut brigades tried their best to make light or demonize the demonstrators.

Quote of the day from Bob Herbert, NY Times columnist
"You can say what you want about the people opposed to this wretched war in Iraq, try to stereotype them any way you can. But you couldn’t walk among them for more than a few minutes on Saturday without realizing that they love their country as much as anyone ever has. They love it enough to try to save it."

Some snippets of democracy in action:

Meanwhile, the Bush Imperium as directed by Darth Cheney continues its war on same (democracy, that is). But that's fodder for another post ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

If we knew then what we know now...

This is from all the way back in 2002:

(CBS) American citizens working for al Qaeda overseas can legally be targeted and killed by the CIA under President Bush's rules for the war on terrorism, U.S. officials say.

The authority to kill U.S. citizens is granted under a secret finding signed by the president after the Sept. 11 attacks that directs the CIA to covertly attack al Qaeda anywhere in the world. The authority makes no exception for Americans, so permission to strike them is understood rather than specifically described, officials said.

These officials said the authority will be used only when other options are unavailable. Military-like strikes will take place only when law enforcement and internal security efforts by allied foreign countries fail, the officials said.

Capturing and questioning al Qaeda operatives is preferable, even more so if an operative is a U.S. citizen, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Any decision to strike an American will be made at the highest levels, perhaps by the president.

U.S. officials say few Americans are working with al Qaeda but they have no specific estimates.

The CIA already has killed one American under this authority, although U.S. officials maintain he wasn't the target.

On Nov. 3, a CIA-operated Predator drone fired a missile that destroyed a carload of suspected al Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The target of the attack, a Yemeni named Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, was the top al Qaeda operative in that country. Efforts by Yemeni authorities to detain him had previously failed.

But the CIA didn't know a U.S. citizen, Yemeni-American Kamal Derwish, was in the car. He died, along with al-Harethi and four other Yemenis.

The Bush administration said the killing of an American in this fashion was legal.

According to CBS Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen, this is legal because the President and his lawyers say so... [read on]

Isn't that comforting? Don't you feel safer now? Oh, what if they make a mistake?

Friday, January 26, 2007

What's your take?

Look at the expression on the presidunce's face. It's that demi-smirk of his that I find so infuriating but at the same time so revealing. It is the falsely self-confident smile of the prodigal. He knows that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how much collateral damage, he will always be pulled from the brink, he will always be saved by his privilege, his connections, by his father and his father's friends in Texas, Riyadh, Washington.

Is it enough to wish oblivion on this soul? For history to forever associate his name with the terminal decline of our nation? For if we are the modern Rome, then George W. Bush is our Nero.

Tomorrow, let's fill the streets of the capital with our indignation. Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Olberman & the "Fox Nothing Channel"

You gotta love Keith Olberman. One island of sanity in an ocean of cable news channel vacuity. Here Keith reacts to the Fox "nothing" Channel's ridiculous new campaign to ensure viewers escape exposure to the giant swill of the liberal propaganda machine (wherever that is; probably under Rush's bed). Enjoy.

The REAL state of the union

As delivered by Senator Jim Webb.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Conversations with Nero

I just read the transcripts of the recent Scott Pelley 60 Minutes conversation with the great Decider. Whoaaa, heady stuff. We have a man in the White House so shallow, so insulated, so assured without any collateral, that you have to keep reminding yourself that you aren't reading a parody of a presidential interview. Check out this gem:

PELLEY: You know better than I do that many Americans feel that your administration has not been straight with the country, has not been honest. To those people you say what?

BUSH: On what issue?

PELLEY: Well, sir . . .

BUSH: Like the weapons of mass destruction?

PELLEY: No weapons of mass destruction.

BUSH: Yeah.

PELLEY: No credible connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

BUSH: Yeah.

PELLEY: The Office of Management and Budget said this war would cost somewhere between $50 billion and $60 billion and now we're over 400.

BUSH: I gotcha. I gotcha. I gotcha.

PELLEY: The perception, sir, more than any one of those points, is that the administration has not been straight with . . .

BUSH: Well, I strongly disagree with that, of course ... [give some lame explanation not worth transcribing]

And this one is (I guess) a bit of the reality-creating of which this administration is so fond:

BUSH: ... I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that... That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq.

e 600,000 dead, no jobs, no electricity, no clean water. What's not to like? Damn those ungrateful hadjis. Or how about this plum:

BUSH: The vice-president's been a great vice-president. And Don Rumsfeld did a really find job as Secretary of Defense. Quite the contrary, I feel like this country is blessed to have those kind of people serving.

A man at peace with himself in a cosset of delusion.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Yes, Virginia, it ALWAYS was about oil

Randi Rhodes was rightfully ranting about this the other day, and these series of articles in the UK Independent by Danny Forsten are required reading for anyone who still maintains the slightest bit of fantasy that there was anything remotely noble about our destruction of Iraq.

Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq's most precious commodity

So was this what the Iraq
war was fought for, after all? As the number of US soldiers killed since the invasion rises past the 3,000 mark, and President George Bush gambles on sending in up to 30,000 more troops, The Independent on Sunday has learnt that the Iraqi government is about to push through a law giving Western oil companies the right to exploit the country's massive oil reserves.

Future of Iraq: The spoils of war

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

Iraq poised to end drought for thirsting oil giants
The Iraqi Council of Ministers is expected to approve, as early as today, a controversial new hydrocarbon law, heavily pushed by the US and UK governments, that will radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the t
hird-largest oil reserves in the world. It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.
And just as a reminder of the type of animal that occupies the seats of power in America's oil giants, here's my favorite pinup of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond:

Oh, and what about Exxon-Mobil's giant contributions to understanding the threat of global warming? From Tara Lohan at Alternet

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists offers the latest evidence about how ExxonMobil has been actively working for years on a disinformation campaign to prevent action on climate change, confuse the public, and stymie scientists.

ExxonMobil is one of the world's largest producers of global warming pollution - if they were a country, ExxonMobil would rank 6th in the world in global warming emissions.

According to the report, "Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Change," the company has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.


It was back in September 2006 that I made note of the oh so very coincidental drop in oil prices as we neared the mid term elections. Of course, even in a nation that has turned brain-deadedness into a fine art, I was not the only one. Josh Holland, our intrepid blogger at Alternet notes:

Now that we have the average gas prices for the final week of 2006 it's official: the lowest prices of the year came during the week of the midterms.

More specifically, in the thirteen short weeks between the year's high of $3.083 per gallon -- during the week of August 8 -- and Election Day, average gas prices dropped by almost 80 cents per gallon -- 26 percent -- and then they did a one-eighty the very next week and crept back up in all but one of the six weeks that followed that. Altogether they rose 14.1 cents, or a bit more than 6 percent, after the election.

Coincidence? Well I've got this bridge, in good shape …

PS: I'd refer you to a previous post for background, but actually it's Gandhi who has it covered like white on rice, linking not only to my humble offering but also to a trove of other goodies on the topic from around the intertubes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Keeping their feet to the fire...

From the Brad Blog:

Poor Rahm and the Democrats. They've not even been sworn into the Majority yet, and they're already having their feet held to the fire.

We suspect this won't be the last time. Particularly if the Dems decide to play it safe instead of taking seriously the clear mandate for accountability they received at the polls last November.

Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, joined other protesters on Capitol Hill today to lobby Congress Members for a swift end to the War in Iraq. They interrupted a Democratic press conference today, held to announce ethics reform packages, with chants of "De-escalate! Investigate! Troops Home Now!" Rahm never stood a chance.

Of course, he might have seen it coming. This was on the Gold Star Families for Peace website today:

Walk the halls of Congress with Gold Star Families for Peace. Lets let the 110th congress know what is expected of them from Day 1. We will be insisting that an immediate exit strategy from Iraq be implemented. We will insist that all funding for the War stop and the money spent on rebuilding Iraq. We will be insisting that hearings begin immediately into Bushco's crimes against humanity and the lies told to the American people. We will demand IMPEACHMENT.

Fox "News" deemed to tell the story. David Edwards, over at RAW STORY, covers it along with the video.

UPDATE: New York Times blogged the incident tonight, and if you care to put any stock in those dreaded "bloggers," they described the reaction of Emanuel and the other Dems this way:

Mr. Emanuel and incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer consulted briefly and decided to leave their lectern and return later. "Looks like we’re taking a little break," Mr. Hoyer said as he and Mr. Emanuel rushed away.

Ms. Sheehan, meantime, was happy to take over the Democratic microphone, not to mention the captive audience of reporters. She called for a greater role for the peace movement in the new Democratic majority, which she said is ignoring the people who put them in power. She called for an end to financing the war.

"And these are not requests," said Ms. Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq. "These are demands."

The Democratic leaders did, later on, return to the microphones. Ms. Sheehan, who first emerged as a prominent protester against President Bush at his Crawford ranch, vowed to be around all week.

The Dems have got to realize that if they fail to act on the voters' mandate of November 2007, their defeat in 2008 is almost assured.

Now, as you probably can imagine, FOX News just couldn't resist showing this one. You can almost feel the sneer as they introduce the tape.