Power-Broker David Gergen Breaks Down

Normally, I'd be semi-okay with David Gergen, but in this instance, he's just an asshole who should be outed. Dave, get over your Skull and Bones connections. You like the sacrifice of Dull Care? Kool. Beyond that, shut the fuck up. And, while we're at it, go fuck yourself.

Kingdom Come

The new movie adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's magnum opus All the King's Men is coming out soon. While I'll neither condone Huey Long's authoritarian or corruption streaks, I don't condone his assassination. What may get lost in the non-debate we'll see, in which Long will be posthumously reviled for looking out Chávez-like for the poor, is that Long authored the New Deal. FDR revised it slightly, then implemented it. Now Bush™ is systematically dismantling it--a process that's gone much farther than you think. That's the tragedy here, because we need not only the old New Deal but new New Deal. Huey Long's career was fundamentally about the class war, the one being waged against most of us right now by the fascistic corporatist monied elite who want to rule a globalized police state in which you must obey their every whim.

But that's not why I posted about this. What initially struck me was that the director got the accents right. If you're not a Louisianian, that may mean nothing to you. But for ages, film crews have shot here and, despite the accents of the help which they never seem to hear, they never portray Louisiana accents accurately. We don't have southern accents. We have an odd blend of French, English and Italian (and even German and Irish) accents that are more akin to those of Brooklyn than anything in the South. Thanks for getting it right.

Mike Malloy "Terminated"

Air America has fired Mike Malloy. We're not sure why, as he's one of the founders of liberal talk radio and has a large, loyal following. And he beats the living shit out of people like Ed Schultz and Jerry Springer. If I can find AAR's phone number, I'll post it here. Those idiots should be flogged for this. There is nobody like Malloy, and AAR can be sure that people like me will follow Mike wherever he goes, avoiding whatever show replaces his.

UPDATE: Lost and lonely Malloy listeners who perchance happen upon this space may want to know whom to call or email about this "business decision." From Mike Malloy: call 212-871-8290 or email to: comments@airamericaradio.com

And remember, Mike's replacement Peter Werbe's in an awkward spot. So be nice to him. He neither asked for nor expected this shit.

The Next War Is as Close as Baluchistan

Want to know what funny business we and our beloved Al-Qaeda-Pakistani-ISI proxy (of the CIA) are doing to swab the target Iran before the inevitable shot (now this will sting a little)? Here's an Online Journal article that confirms what Seymour Hersh reported a while ago: we're conducting operations in Baluchistan, a part of Pakistan that borders Waziristan (the alleged Taliban/Al-Qaeda stronghold) and Iran, and the leader of which, Bugti, Musharraff recently assassinated. It's rife with natural resources and yields access to the Ali-Baba-like cave opening the Straight of Hormuz, which like Borat's sister's thighs, once spread wide lets ships move oil and gas to China and elsewhere. Key grafs:
The latest developments in the murder of the Baluch leader, Bugti, is a case in point: Pakistan is in an uproar and calling for his resignation.

Why would the axis-of-evil crusaders want to destabilize a crucial ally? They don't "want" to, but they have bigger plans.

The US has three military bases in Baluchistan. They say they are fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in the region. Perhaps. But, Baluchistan borders with Iran to the west. Baluchistan, too, is rich in natural gas and minerals. China is helping the Pakistani government to build a natural gas pipeline from Baluchistan's port of Gwadar to China, a project the Bush administration opposes. The port of Gwadar just happens to be geographically located to overlook the Straits of Hormuz, which the Iranians intend to block if they are attacked. Hormuz is the crucial sea route for internatinal oil distribution.

Coincidence that the US should be interested in "terrorism" in Baluchistan and urging Musharraf to be more zealous at the same time that it is planning an attack on Iran?

An article by the Carnegie Endowment entertains the same thought, albeit to deny it: "The Baluch and the Pakistani think that Washington would like to use Baluchistan as a rear-guard base for an attack on Iran, and Iran is suspected of supporting Baluch [independence] activists in order to counter such a Pakistani-US plot. . . . Some Pakistanis perceive the US using its Greater Middle East initiative to dismantle the major Muslim states and redefine the borders of the region. Some Baluch nationalists charge the US with conspiring with the Pakistani government to put an end to Baluch claims. So far nobody has been able to prove any of these accusations."

No? No matter, the Iranians have been mining their side of the Baluch borders, just in case, and Bugti, Baluch independence leader, has been killed by the diplomatically besieged Musharraf, catapulting the country into a political crisis.
As with the initial US-led 9/11 attack, perhaps yet again the bombing will commence before "the snows fall in October"....

UPDATE: A January 23, 2005 article in the London Telegraph confirms Hersh's report.

UPDATE: Remind me again why Iran is a "threat"? I'm sorry, but the rabidly insecure, bedwetting Krauthammers, Perles, Olmerts and Bushes of this world are full of shit. Ahmadinejad, as much of a right-leaning blowhard as he may be (he didn't call for Israel to be "wiped off the map") wants diplomatic relations and trade with the US. Iran's wanted that for years. Does no one in the GOP remember the Mob's advice to "keep your friends close but your enemies closer"? It's sound advice. Plus, even though Iran is well within its rights to develop nuclear power, it's years away from developing a bomb (even if it's trying to do so). And even if it gets the bomb, it will never use it. If it did, it knows it would be obliterated by either Israel or the United States. These people aren't crazy--well, no more than the blustery but harmless Pat Robertson. The real boss of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, is a cool pragmatist with a moderate approach to regional difficulties. We may not like his approach to governance, but he's no idiot. He's closer to Kruschev than to the paranoid Stalin. The way to eliminate Iran as a threat is the same way to eliminate everyone as a threat: Mind our own business, stop starting wars and overthrowing governments, strengthen diplomatic and trade ties, give money for development, exchange students, be the generous guy who buys the drinks and respects your space and opinion. Then everyone will love you, will tell you about any impending threats and will back you when you're in a corner. These fucking neocons are stone-cold idiots.

NOT AN UPDATE EXACTLY: Just another point that I made to a mystery reporter the other night (thanks for the hours-long conversation): If the present Administration cared about actual threats instead of pretexts, it would focus on North Korea. That place is run by a--does this sound familiar?--spoiled trust-fund baby who craves power and attention (flip side of coin). It doesn't help that that country is so poor and badly run (familiar?) that Kim Jong Il resorts to international smuggling to pay the bills. That creates a situation to sell nukes as tempting as a soldier sequestered in the Hanoi Hilton feels for any dumpy prostitute. Anyone with any sense would worry about the pompadoured dictator selling arms to monied clients. The only upside there is that he promised Saddam nukes but took his millions and gave him nothing. At least his cheatin' heart gives us hope.


Olbermann's Murrow Moment

When I saw Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck, I wished we had an Edward R. Murrow for this age of imperial decline. Well, we have one now. Olbermann humbly claims he could never write as well as Murrow. He just proved himself wrong.


Are We There Yet?

Thom Hartmann has an excellent piece on the rise of American fascism. He quotes liberally from a NYT article by then-Veep Henry Wallace that's stunningly prescient. A must read.

Palast Reports on Gov't Negligence

I've been dreading this day but now it's here. I've invested in plenty of kleenex, so I should be okay; maybe a jazz funeral will help too. In a perverse irony, while the very definition of evil's banality George W. Bush has been photo-opping and pretending to care over red beans with Nagin, Greg Palast has been investigating the staggering, incomprehensible breadth and depth of governmental negligence before, during and after the storm. Watch both parts here.

Note: In a stunning twist of events, Palast's reports on Katrina are not breathtakingly shocking. For once, he's coving a story that other actual American journalists covered. Remarkable. Too bad they don't follow him around.

Oh, and Palast doesn't do my former employer IEM any favors. They were paid $500k to come up with an evacuation plan--a task for which they're probably one of the best firms in the country. Too bad nobody can find the plan. Fuck IEM.

BONUS: The guy with his hand in the lens urging Palast's crew out the door is the longtime (and pretty brilliant) IT manager, Dave.

The Gamut

Here are two ads from Video Dog: one an anti-suicide-bomber PSA, the other a clever, gruesome (but funny) ad for...I don't want to spoil it. Just watch.

Where Y'at?

This is a bizarre video of a fat, shirtless New Orleanian dancing his way through Lakeview and along the lake (near the 17th St. breach). (Via Video Dog.)


The New American Empire

I haven't read the professor's book, but his blog kicks some serious foreign-policy ass.

Central Asian War Games

Right on the heels of extensive, long-lasting Iranian war games covering most (if not all) of the regions that the US and Israel would attack, various Central Asian post-Soviet satellites are following suit.


The Actual News

If you get your news from cable, you're probably out-of-the-loop or just plain GOP-crazy. Get the real news from the Middle East here.

Kenyon v. Nagin

I'm no fan of Ray Ray. But NY's Peter Kenyon has no idea what we're facing here. He seems to think that an entire NYC neighborhood's devastation is somehow equivalent to that of 2/3 of an entire city. So: Go fuck yourself, Mr. Kenyon. If you have a problem with NO mayor Nagin, take it up with him in person. Otherwise, knock yourself out or play homeless on a steam grate. We don't fucking care what you've done for NYC or what you think of our fucking city. You're a waste of water, asshole.

Paging Amanda Pederson

Aw, hell, so what if you and I are brokenhearted? So what if we should be together? We aren't, so I guess we're both fucked. But the least you could do is respond to my email or maybe your mother could. If you don't respond soon, I'll start calling you, just to see how you are.


9/11 Cover Up

Well, gee, I'm sure it's not true. We'd never stage terrorist attacks against our own country. Either way, it would help if, oh, I dunno, Democratic candidates didn't sign on to this shit. And maybe if Amanda Pederson and her mother at least let me know that they're alive.....

Mike Malloy Responds

There's really no point in this, but just now midnight Mike Malloy read my email on the air. Yeah, okay, I was thrilled. I humbly chastised him for fussing at a guy against the Iraq war for asking why we should leave. Malloy was kind enough to agree that he's, well, impatient but that he has his reasons. I understand. Patience is a hard thing to come by with this SOB in the White House. Some people are geared for it; some aren't. I'm probably not one of them. Anyway, a shoutout to the King of Radio for reading my message. If it weren't for Malloy, most of AAR wouldn't even exist.

Before I Forget: Late Edition

The invaluable Palast-level NYT investigative reporter David Cay Johnston was nice enough to reply to my email about the crisis in investigative journalism, writing, "You ought to look more deeply -- there is actually far more investigative reporting going on today than, say, 30 years ago. Look at the massive library of material at www.ire.org for example." As with one of our mystery reporters (the nicer one), I don't disagree (though I was surprised). Essentially, my email exchanges with these reporters reveal that, while we basically agree on much of what's wrong and what isn't being reported, they're coming from the view that American journalism is hamstrung by corporate beancounters and the hunger for access (etc.) whereas I'm of the view of a consumer: I want the news reported, and in the past year it's become blindingly clear that 80% of the biggest, most documented stories don't make it to American shores, esp. on TV. Europe? They know. That's why they think we're insane. The recent non-coverage of the War on Lebanon is a perfect example. Watching US TV news, you'd loathe Hizbollah and worry for Israel. The rest of the world thought the opposite, and for good reason: They actually get the news.

Anyway, per Johnston's advice, check out ire.org.

Bush Family Fortunes

Since we're still buried in Palastine, here's the BBC's exposé of the Bush family, one of the greatest and most devastating political dynasties in US history. (Oh, it gets worse, but this is a good introduction.) The page the link is on is a treasure trove of investigation journalism: view at your own risk.

The Invisible College

Year after year, the dead pile up: celebrities trip the light fantastic out of town for the more peaceful pastures of memory. We've passed up many an opportunity to eulogize many of the dead in the past year, partly out of laziness, partly out of the sheer pointlessness of blogging. But lest we let these greats go by uncommended, please celebrate the tragically short life of gifted comic actor Bruno Kirby and not-so-short life of Maynard Ferguson, who may not have been the best trumpeter ever, but was an influential one who'll long be remembered for his talents and, especially, for his trademark high notes. He testified in a clear, pure tone (as clear as Marsalis') and loved to perform. I last saw his shock of white hair at the State Palace Theater in New Orleans circa 1989. He was featuring a young saxophone Turk who sought to impress with lots of Parker-like riffs but couldn't touch my wounded, envious friend Pat, who played tenor with the minimalism, imagination and use of sonic white space of Dexter Gordon. Godspeed, guys. We'll miss you.

Um... I'm... Hrmm....

This is... this is, um....

Take a look for yourself. BTW, I can think of a remarkably similar and much more stimulating form of exercise. You can do it with a partner or, if you're so inclined, buy a Sybian....

(Via Ana Marie [ahem, Cox] subbing for Sully.)

Katherine Harris Twitches, Drools

On the day after a new technique for making stem-cell lines without killing precious frozen multi-cellular snow-flake teletubbies and the same day the FDA finally after Pat-Roberts-style foot-dragging let Plan-B (the Morning After Pill, not the Soviet secret silent sub report) be sold over the counter, Katherine Harris tells us that "God chooses our rulers." That's fascinating. Not only is that not detailed in the Constitution or federal law or any court decision, it makes one wonder why God needed Harris and Jeb Bush to deny the vote to tens of thousands of mostly black Democratic Florida voters who weren't even felons, so that King George could ascend the throne by a meager 500+ vote margin. Twice. Thank God relies on super duper Christofascists like Bush and Harris instead of those stoopid negroes and po' white folk. If Democrats had their democratic way, as my brilliant yet benighted uncle says, we'd all be "pushing oxcarts for Arabs."

The Next War?

One overlooked resource we have yet to start fun adventurous Hardy-Boys-style wars over is sand. That's right: sand. Imagine if we nuked the Middle East? How much glass would we have then, huh? Yeah, you right: buy your glass futures now!

But unseriously, almost weekly I hear some candid clip of Il Duce talking and I have a naked lunch moment: I can't believe this jackass is in the White House. But hey, if a long political pedigree, tons of Binladdin and Saudi royal money, the backing of decades of giant corporations and banks, a brother in Florida rigging the election for you and a corporate story-killing media don't get you in, what can?

UPDATE: Good Christ, Power Line's uber-moron Assrocket fellates Bush (again). He thinks that
...up close, he is a great communicator, in a way that, in my opinion, Ronald Reagan was not....
He was by turns instructive, persuasive, and funny. His persona is very much that of the big brother. Above all, he was impassioned. I have never seen a politician speak so evidently from the heart, about big issues—freedom, most of all.
Oh my fucking god. Somebody put this man out of my misery.

Pelosi on Letterman

Old White Flag Pelosi's at it again, spewing partisan rhetoric and her radical, anti-American agenda with points like "keep America safe," "it's the wrong war," and commending UK intelligence and police with thwarting a plot that everybody knows Bush foiled personally, wrestling each teen and mother terrorist to the ground with his Matrix-like jujitsu moves and super speed. When are 61% of Americans going to stop hating America and the troops?

BONUS: Mad TV comic Frank Caliendo is as good as Rich Little--but a lot funnier. His Bush and Clinton impressions are unbelievable.

SUPER HAPPY BONUS: Tired of all the bloodletting, election theft and Halliburton mischief? Take a break with David Sedaris.

O'Reilly: Talking Asshole

Gross but funny.

Iranian War Games

Gee, isn't it interesting that during the pre-election window in which Pentagon insiders claim Rummy and friends hope to attack Iran, perhaps via Israel, it just so happens that Iran is running a series of major war games all over the country, but especially near areas that border US or NATO forces? Global Research, as usual, knows what's up before our intrepid non-journalists don't tell you about it.

From the concluding paragraph:
Iran has been very conscious for a long time of the hostile American-led forces encircling Iran and on its borders in the occupied territories of its neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, and stationed in bases in other Iranian neighbours. It has also reported that the Interior Ministry of Iran also has simultaneously planned to boost border security and all border patrols under the premise of combating smuggling and narcotics trafficking. 17 Military manoeuvres and war games can be multi-faceted and could easily serve many purposes such as being masked military mobilization and formation for an expected attack under the pretext of training and testing. It seems that the materialization of an escalating level of alert and defensive mobilization of the Iranian Armed Forces is taking place as an inevitable and anticipated showdown over the fate of the Iranian Nuclear Energy Program is drawing nearer and with it are coupled the fates of Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, the Persian Gulf, the direction of Central Asia, he strategic balance in the Caucasus, and so much more…
Meanwhile, Iran is set to announce a "nuclear breakthrough," with one week remaining before the Security Council deadline.

UPDATE: I don't know why Atrios is confused about the blatant plotting against Iran. The question isn't whether Bush™ wants to bomb them (either directly or via our favorite Middle East proxy), it's when they'll try it. Even that isn't up for much debate now. The remaining salient question is: will the Democrats try to stop them, will Iran make a deal, will there be too little public support? Who knows.

Economic Flu?

This is encouraging:
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The United States is headed for a recession that will be "much nastier, deeper and more protracted" than the 2001 recession, says Nouriel Roubini, president of Roubini Global Economics.
Writing on his blog on Wednesday, Roubini repeated his call that the U.S. would be in a recession in 2007, arguing that the collapse of housing will bring down the rest of the economy. Read more.
"This is the biggest housing slump in the last four or five decades: every housing indictor is in free fall, including now housing prices," Roubini said. The decline in investment in the housing sector will exceed the drop in investment when the Nasdaq collapsed in 2000 and 2001, he said.
Fun. At least it'll be a good time to buy a house. If you have a job.



Imagine...George Bush singing "Imagine."


A Passage to North Korea

Today, Il Duce declared that "if we withdraw [from Iraq] before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here. I strongly agree with that."

Let's assume for the sake of argument that he's sincere. Given that "the enemy" has gone as far west as Britain, I suggest we attack some poor, third-world country farther east, say, North Korea. That way, maybe "the enemy" will move east as well. Maybe they'll go as far as Iraq.

An Irate Proposal

For several months now, Lein Shory and Brown Trout (alias) have been discussing the possibility of starting a group blog and even a publishing consortium (we all have books and others we know have more). The wicked turn that Lein's son had pretty much shut that down, but now that Logan* is back on a promising track, Lein seems eager to form a group blog. I dearly hope we get to start something up. If so, watch this space and I'll let you know what's happening.

*In a previous version of this post, I had "Evan" instead of "Logan." Sorry; I have a hard time with names. Anyway, we're still all sorts of glad that Logan's doing well. May his kine produce milk and his sheep abundant wool. Selah.


After the Garden

Neil Young's new album Living with War has been out for a while, but I've been replaying the song "After the Garden" over and over and over and over again. It's easily the best song on the album. "Let's Impeach the President" is great, too, but despite it's provoking title, it's not as insistent and moving. As a New Orleanian, the song resonates as well with me as "macaca" does with George Allen. Much of our garden is gone. Fortunately, to tempt fate by carrying the metaphor further, there's always another spring. You can hear the entire album for free here. It's worth remarking that giving away music on the Internet, just like you do on the radio, is the successful strategy of our era because it whets your appetite for the actual CD and makes you want to support the artist.

Note: This has gone mostly unremarked, but I think it's critical: Neil Young's marketing approach is innovative and savvy. Like Willy Nelson and the Dixie Chicks, he has a name as big as Bush's that guarantees automatic distribution and sales. And yet, what did he (or his marketing people) do? He made a clever website mocking USA Today that, unlike the paper, keeps visitors abreast of the actual news. He made a MySpace page (MySpace was created to give musicians a way to publicize their work before it because a hangout for horny teens and adults). He let you listen to the song for free. As if that wasn't enough, he put videos on YouTube. That's one smart man. It took the Democrats years to figure out that orgs like MoveOn were on the cutting edge of political advertising (they still haven't figured out how to talk, though). But Neil Young? He was way on up in that biyatch from the get go.

Mike Ruppert's Blog

The intrepid writer Michael Ruppert has a new blog. (Presumably, he's blogging from Caracas, but who knows.) Also be sure to check out the new evidence that we were behind the coup to oust Hugo Chávez. (Gee, you mean he isn't paranoid? he really caught four CIA operatives?)

Tweety Does His Job

Hardball's Chris Matthews is hardly known for being well-informed and even-handed, but his recent appearances on Imus revealed his deep dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq and Bush™'s propensity for bullshitting the public. Which is why it's worth watching his interview of Paul Hackett and GOP bobblehead Taylor. In the exchange, Taylor spits out ancient talking points about how we need to "be in Iraq" to "fight Al Qaeda" so we don't have to "fight them here." (Right: because they can't leave Iraq to attack the UK, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or Spain.) Matthews doesn't let him get away with it. He's persistent and argues every point, demanding that Taylor cite examples, which, of course, he can't.

Being There

Holy Joe was sucking off radio host Glenn Beck earlier today and said some very interesting things. But what's most enlightening in the TPMCafe post I linked to is the insight of the first comment. The commenter theorizes that Holy Joe is nothing but a cipher, like Chance the gardener in Being There.


Whitney Bin Laden
or Houston, We Have a Problem

Normally, I don't give a rat's ass about Whitney Houston, but this is just too bizarre to overlook.

Subversive Quote of the Day

"Mankind will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
Denis Diderot    

When the Levees Broke

Spike Lee is an uneven filmaker (like so many filmakers) but like the best he has a personal style, a vision, moxy, a surfeit of talent and the ability to get daring projects done by sheer force of will. In other words, like all great writers, he changes the landscape with his work, leaving behind him a different, expanded cinematic world.

Tonight is the HBO television premiere of Lee's When the Levees Broke. (If I'd been paying attention, I would've known about the local premiere and seen it then.) I've heard only good reviews of this film, and from the clips I've seen, it's probably your one chance to get even a faint idea of the extent of devastation here--still present a year later. I've shown you photos of Lakeview and the Lower Ninth Ward, but you can't begin to understand it unless you watch long tracking shots of entire blocks. I've said before that it looks like Hiroshima but without the burn victims dying of radiation poisoning. That's still true today.

The wooden houses of the Ninth look like piles of matchsticks. Though Gentilly, N.O. East and Lakeview suffered the same fate, most of the houses were brick, so they're still standing. That landscape looks like the cities in Battlestar Galactica: as if a hydrogen bomb had been tested there, leaving nothing but a thin film of gray ash as a pall over the landscape and giant piles of debris and personal detritus on the sidewalk.

Imagine if 9/11 had destroyed 2/3 of Manhattan. That's what New Orleans looked like in January. It still looks like that today. And Spike Lee has captured it on videotape.


Leary v. Gibson

Christ, this is funny. Sorry, I mean, Jesus, this is funny. No, wait, um, I mean "Jews have started all the"--no, wait....

Happy Katrinaversary!

Hey, kidz! Here's an old, cruelly funny Suspect Device comic. Since the Rising Tide conference is next weekend and the Katrinaversary is the week after that, it seemed appropriate. Silly clown! Turn that frown upside down!

Let's Go Deadwood

Rarely is there a movie that reveals the open secret of the world (Syriana was such a film); rarer still is the television show that does--unless it's on HBO. Think the Sopranos is revealing? Try Deadwood. It's the first show that examines the construction of an entire society from scratch, and as with the Sopranos, is free of the veneer of civilized society that we routinely bullshit ourselves with (cf. civility between Congress and the press, the FCC and a certain wardrobe malfunction).

The third and final season tells the tale of late 19th Century Gilded Age America: the rise of corporate power and the channeling of that power into the state. In other words, the sequel to which we're living through now (welcome back!) on a global scale, complete with imperial conquest in the service of neo-mercantilism and the suppression of labor (the Old Deal?). And what's the fulcrum on which much of this power turns? Why, your friend and mine, the rigged election. As the smoldering robberbaron George Heart tells a sycophantic politician:
Elections do not inconvenience me. They ratify my will or I neuter them.
Stick that in your peace pipe and smoke it.

SUPER HAPPY BONUS: Rome is shooting its second season. That would be, er, the third HBO show that dramatically plays out how the real world works. Turns out the reviled Mr. Chomsky was right when he said, "Same shit, different show."


Chávez Catches CIA Agents?

As noted previously, I'm not happy about having to point out repeatedly that dictators, tyrants and general third-world sons of bitches routinely speak the unvarnished truth about the United States and its imperial ambitions. Are they hypocrites? Sure, they are. But then so is every member of the Bush™ cabal. Not even Hassan Nasrallah lies as often or as shamelessly as Il Duce.

With that disclaimer in mind, it turns out that the government of Venezuela's democratically elected president Hugo Chávez (versus, say, out unelected one) claims they've caught four CIA spies and tossed them back to our imperial shores. Now I'm sure The Washington Press Corpse Zombie Army will laugh it off, if they bother to report it, but it's worth noting that none--and I mean none--of our favorite toy third-world dictators from the Cold War rogues' gallery were merely paranoid. The CIA really was plotting against them. That includes Mao, Castro, Diem, Allende (okay, not a dictator) et al. Plenty more we overthrew and replaced with people far worse, then taught their intelligence and security services how to torture their citizens, using exactly the same methods that some soldiers, needing to "blow off steam" in Baghdad, used on prisoners throughout the GWO(S)T theater.

While Chávez is claiming to've caught the CIA red-handed (they did, after all, try to overthrow him a few years ago), Raul Castro is busy putting the Cuban military on alert in anticipation of a US attack. That wouldn't surprise me either.

Question is, what is our beloved CIA up to when they're not busying rendering goatherders to be boiled alive in Uzbekistan and abducting innocent German citizens?

The Washington Press Corpse Zombie Army Reports on Lebanon

An academic media analyst from Cairo was subjected to American cable newsfotainment during his vacation during the War on Lebanon. Read his impressions here.

Those Pesky Weapons Experts:
Fun with Assassination Science

Official accounts of suspicious deaths would be easier to maintain if it weren't for that pesky gadfly, science. Unfortunately, in virtually every case, it's science that upends the government's claims, making it all the more necessary for intelligence and security services to bury the gullible news media in bullshit propaganda. That's been the case in the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Yitzhak Rabin and the attempted assassination of Yuschenko as well as the successful state murders of Princess Diana et al. and WMD expert David Kelly. (If you want the skinny on all these but the last, read the thoroughly researched book The Assassination Business, which also notes that assassinations are usually accompanied by a high degree of farce.)

As with the death of Diana's driver Henri Paul, who remarkably was called a "drunk" even though he didn't drink and appeared sober on security tapes, David Kelly, whose investigations promised to embarrass the UK government, allegedly went to a park late at night and overdosed on pills. Unfortunately, he took far less than the amount required to kill him. Once again, pesky science undermines government claims of "suicide." If, like me, you thought the story was mighty fishy when first reported, it now "stinketh, for [it] hath been dead four days."

Juden Raus!

I thought I was pessimistic about the November elections and the future of our dying nation, but Crossing the Rubicon author Michael Ruppert, who first gained attention by revealing that the CIA was smuggling cocaine to fund covert operations in Central America, is already gone. He left in secret with a suitcase, a backpack, a laptop and eight grand. Now he's in Caracas, living in an actual progressive democracy (I'm sure Chávez has plenty of faults, but he gives a shit about the electorate). On June 25, Ruppert's From the Wilderness offices were ransacked. It was the final straw. Fearing for his life, he left his house, his furniture, his clothing and his extensive library. We wish him well. And hope that we don't have to follow him.



Um, I'm no fan of cops, but this guy is a saint.

Our King Speaks

realitique™ has obtained a copy of Bush's response to Jude Anna Diggs Taylor's ruling on the illegality of warrantless wiretapping:
Fear, fear, terror, terror, 9/11," President Bush said. "The judge's decision fear, fear, 9/11, pro-terrorist Democrats, if we get hit again, fear, fear," the president continued, "foiled bomb plot, terrorist surveillance program, Democrats hate America, fear, terror," concluding, "fear, fear, Authorization to Use Military Force, fear, terror, 9/11." When asked by reporters why the president disagrees with the judge's opinion, he stated, "Judicial activism, fear, terror, 9/11."
Omnipresent Pepperdine law professor and part-time authoritarian theocratic anti-constitutional power-worshipper Douglas Kmiec agreed with the president, stating on NPR's Some Things Gingerly Considered and Occasionally Reported with Beltway Spin, "War, war, unitary executive, war, terror, 9/11."

UPDATE: King George reminded us that "...last week, working with, uh, people in Great Britain, we disrupted a plot. People tryin' to come and kill...uh...kill people. This country of [mine] is at war. Uh, and we must give the people who're, uh, whose responsibility it is to protect this country [i.e. Great Britain, which is "over there"] the tools necessary to protect this country in a time of war [i.e. wiretapping implemented with warrants issued by the UK Home Office]."

Okay. I get it. We need to ensure that the UK, which "foiled" the "plot" of terrorists who had no operational plan, no passports and no working prototype for a hand-cream and rootbeer bomb, issues warrants to wiretap its own residents and citizens. Fortunately, the UK saw fit to do this. But Judge Taylor's decision makes it difficult for us to spy on people in other countries--no, wait, we could do that with impunity, via Eschelon. I mean, to spy on our own residents and citizens without the warrants required by FISA and the Fourth Amendment, which we could obtain anyway from the rubber-stamp FISA court within 72 hours or, in the case of war, a lot more time than that. Right.

So, can you just retire to your faux ranch and let the Brits "protect" us from the plots they engineer so they can publicly "foil" them?

Kinda makes the olden days of "Persian Gulf," "Stay the course," "little shaver," "Don't wanna be a one-termer" seem like the golden-hued salad days, don't it?

The WaPo Editorial Board Joins Ann Coulter in Her Own Ass

Man. Don't ever piss off Glenn Greenwald:
Only "partisan hysterics" say that the President broke the law. Serious people -- who appreciate the weighty issues of terrorism which confront the President -- politely say that the program "is at least in considerable tension with federal law" and that it rests on "ever-more uncertain legal ground." What matters is not ensuring that there are consequences for the President's deliberate law-breaking when spying on Americans without judicial approval, but instead, that we "provide firmer legal footing for such surveillance."
Let me take this opportunity to inform the overtly fascist, idiotic, Wall-Street-Journal-Ed-Board-stupid, non-reportorial, earthshattering-story-suppressing, useless rag of a non-paper that isn't worth wiping your ass with that they're a bunch of Cheney-sucking, Bush-fellating, Abu-Gonzalez-ball-licking, frightened, conscienceless, witless, authority-worshipping Republican butt puppets. Oh, and they're a gang of CIA-controlled Bushbotic flag-worshipping Drano-drinkers who lack even the rudimentary remains of Terri Schiavo's rotting cerebral cortex.

How's that for some blogofascistic, hysterical, below-the-Beltway hate speech? Motherfucker.


Turkey and Iran Fight Kurdistan

From the Not Reported in the US Dept.: Apparently, Turkey and Iran are attacking Kurdistan. No big deal.

Your Shiny New Police State

Oh, fuck. The evildoers (i.e. Republicans) are proposing a bill to toss out the 22nd amendment. If, like me, you don't know what that is, it's the one that limits the president to two stolen terms.

Funny, there's this clause that addresses, oh, I dunno, recent elections:
...no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
Hm. "Acted as President" notwithstanding, seems like Mr. Bush, who's such a loser he couldn't even be elected once, should've been shitcanned in 2004.

BONUS: Neil Young kicks Bush's ass.

I Dig Anna

Thank god:
"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly when his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," [Judge Anna Diggs Taylor] wrote. "The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another."
That's Detroit, muthafucka.

This is tangential but worth noting: If--and that's a big if--the GOP doesn't steal the 2006 elections, we'll have lots of handsome black men heading up various committees, including son of god John Conyers, who, like daughter of god Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, is also based in Detroit (muthafucka).

Help the Congressional Black Caucus here.

Contact Judge Taylor here:
Phone: 313 234 5105
Email: http://www.mied.uscourts.gov/_contactus/contactus2.htm
Spread love, people. (Via Mike Molloy.)

A Little Lebanon

Before your TV stops telling you to feel sorry for poor, defenseless Israel, let me just say this.


At least, they haven't been for a while. Why? Because they don't act like terrorists. And if you point out that, while defending Lebanon against annihilation, they shot rockets willy nilly and killed civilians (they didn't target them because the rockets didn't have guidance systems), please recall that Israel blew entire neighborhoods to pieces, knowing that there were no rocket launchers present. The United States kept the "smart weapons" coming and fully supported the slaughter of Lebanese women and children. So if Hizbullah is a "terrorist organization," Israel and the United States are "terrorist states" who are far more dangerous to the world than Hizbullah or any nation in the Middle East ever has been or will be. That includes Syria and Iran.

Lots of libruls defended John Murtha when his citation of an international poll was misattributed to him--as they should have. But what got lost in the vitriolic "debate," is that even if he had declared that the United States was the greatest threat to world peace, it would've been true. If you disagree, feel free to offer examples.

Who "won" the War on Lebanon? Israel, Hizbullah, the US, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, etc. Who lost? Practically every citizen of both countries. 1300 at least. Just wait till you don't see the burnt, maimed families of Iran warming Bush and Olmert's cold, cold hearts.

UPDATE: The new Middle East correspondent for The Daily Show: "Hizbullah may be a ragtag bunch of undereducated Islamic extremists but at least they're not FEMA." Please, Hizbullah, consider relocating....

A Little Nasty Fun

No, not that kind of nasty fun (unfortunately) but fun nonetheless. Sam Harris, the shamelessly atheistic author of The End of Faith, demolishes the mindlessly pro-god book by the head of the genome project, proving that even some scientists can be stone-cold stupid.

DISCLAIMER: Lest I get comments on this, no, I don't think theists are stupid, I just think the author of The Language of God is. I hope to god other theists have a better grasp on logic than this guy.

Another Staged Photo!!!!!!!!!

Wingnuts are hyperventilating this morning over another (alleged) staged photo. "Yeah, whatever," I hear you say. "Last time the guy boosted the contrast, which any decent photographer would do," I hear you continue. "Too bad he got carried away and added more smoke, making the bombed buildings look a little more bombed." Well, this time, somebody put a sign on a car! Oh, shit! Ray Robinson, uber blogger unt photography expert, got the goods on this dog. He's noticed that another picture of the same car taken on the same day doesn't have the sign! [Applause.] Now, see, I'm a photographer and, unlike Malkin and Power Whine, I know what I'm talking about. I even guessed that that Pulitzer-winning photo of a Baghdad street execution was taken from approximately 50 yards away with a telephoto lens (I was off by 5 yards). In this case, yes, the sign was probably added to "inflame Islamic passions." Or, you know, as a memorial--something many New Orleans residents did after Katrina, to, uh, memorialize their ruined homes. (Can anybody read the verses on the sign?)

There are two possibilities:
  1. There were two photographers, and somebody put a sign on the car during the interim between which the two photographs were taken
  2. A photographer showed up and somebody said, "Hey, dude, lemme put a sign on that car!"
Hm. Let's see.... Oh, yeah, the photographers are credited in the photos' captions. What do they say? Oh, yeah, the photo with the sign was taken by the Greek-sounding Lefteris Pitarakis of AP. The second was taken by non-Hizbullah-sounding Eric Gaillard of Reuters. As the intrepid Ray Robinson notes:
So this photographer had to know this was a set up most likely by Hizbollah and took the photo for the symbolism it would invoke. And AP was happy to publish this propaganda for hizbollah.
Well, um, no, Ray. Not only is there no evidence for that, but there's no evidence for that. Oh, yeah, and there's no evidence that Pitarakis--the photographer with the obviously Lebanese name!--is connected with Hizbullah. One last note from this photographer: The first picture looks like an unstaged snapshot. That's what happens when people aren't posing and you catch them off-guard. That's why the guy in the background to the right is looking at the camera and the guy nearest the camera, leaning on the car, isn't. Any decent photographer would've included the people and the sign. It's a good picture.

The second picture is probably posed (we'd know for sure if he was looking at the lens). If you can't tell that, you are so clueless that even Neal Boortz would be amazed you make more than minimum wage.

Ray, you're what the DSM IV terms a "fucktard." Learn to think. Oh, right, you're conservablogger. Never mind.


What's stymied me about this whole George Allen affair is that the man is an elected politician. Meaning that it's hard to believe that he would be stupid enough to use a racial slur for the man videotaping him for his opponent. That's a level of stupid that even Pat Robertson (who's not stupid, but nuts) hasn't attained. That's a type of stupid that would require Allen to leave on his Klan kostume while talking to reporters. Is he a racist? Oh, probably. I don't know. Until today, my best guess was that, given that the slur is European and his mom is of French-Algerian extraction, he probably heard it growing up and, being too ignorant to know what a mohawk is, got confused and did his best George Bush Language School imitation. Now Allen's staff says they'd been calling the guy "macaca" as an insult combining "mohawk" with "shit" and that Allen overheard it on the bus or something. Okay, I can buy that (metonymically, "mohawk" is a lindy hop from "mo'caca"). I can even tentatively believe it because it's still an insult and his useless PR people wouldn't've offered that explanation till things were so bad (say, now) that they had to. Anyway, fuck you, George Allen. I hope you lose. Last time I saw you, you were on the 700 Club and you really are that stupid--not just nuts.


Get Your Ward On

Juvenile has some, er, suspect advice for that fat FEMA check you prolly already spent, but the video's great. Revolution. Damn straight, bra. If you want to see the Ninth Ward, watch the video. (Via Raw Story.)

I Smell a Rat

A couple of years ago, when I still lived in Irish Channel, my cat caught a rat in my bedroom and killed it in my living room. She didn't eat it (don't cats eat rats?), maybe because I'd spoiled her with Little Friskies and the poor rat (I heard it scream) didn't taste so good. Revolted and unsure what to do, I picked it up by the tail--it was surprisingly heavy--and flung it in the street. I meant to put it in the garbage later, but a car got to it first. It lay in the street for weeks, stinking up the neighborhood. A coward, I didn't mention it to my kvetching neighbors.

Why that little anecdote? Because the fetid rat, flattened and sinking into the asphalt, stank for a surprisingly long time. Kind of like Greg Palast's BBC report on the stolen 2000 election--the one that killed our proto-democracy, paving the way for our shiny new police state. Five years later, I still smell that rat. Europe and the UK smelled it years ago and, thanks to Palast, watched America die. Palast fed 60 Minutes the story here, but guess what? CBS killed it.

Funny how American "journalism" works. What little many Americans know of the scam they learned from the evil terrorist-lover Michael Moore's Farenheit 911. Of course, America's fake, state-fellating national media howled at the outrageous lies in the movie--most of which turned out to be true.

So hop into the Wayback Machine, dearest readers, and watch the original BBC Newsnight report that Our Dear Leader and his news lackeys didn't (and don't) want you to see.

You can help keep non-Americans well-informed by contributing to the Palast Investigative Fund here.

Before We Forget

You know that curiously timed "foiled" UK terror plot? the one the Preznit pushed UK law enforcement (note to conservatrons: not the UK armed forces) to make public before all the evidence was in? Well, given Bush™'s penchant for changing terror colors only when it distracts fearful Americans from bad WH news, you may suspect that there's more to the latest fear-mongering than meets the eye.

There is. Former Reagan-era NSA official Wayne Madsen's got the skinny.

And if you read this rag regularly and follow the links, you already know that there's a heap of evidence connecting Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (who helped manufacture "foil" the UK plot) with the Taliban (their creation), Al Qaeda (our creation) and the CIA (who created and still funds the ISI). Canadian economist Michael Chossudovsky retells the sordid tale.

UPDATE: Sully doesn't buy the "foiled" plot either. Now that's saying something.


Katrina and Me

As I mentioned earlier, I just finished reading Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse. Near the end of the book, I ran across a section on Huey Long, the New Deal and New Orleans that was a bit too personal. See, the City of N.O. hired Palast to investigate Entergy several years ago, and a couple of years ago he investigated the privatization of FEMA's disaster plan for New Orleans--a contract granted Innovative Emergency Management of Baton Rouge. What Palast uncovered was disturbing enough. But then there's the fact that recently I produced and helped design Entergy's 2005 online annual report--a curious report in that, with all its fake sentimentality and dedication to the "workers" who restored power, nowhere was it clear how, given Entergy New Orleans bankruptcy, the parent company managed to come off with such extraordinary high profits. But Palast knows how. Even worse, I used to be a technical writer and editor for Innovative Emergency Management. So was Mr. Suspect Device, after I left (had I stayed, he would've been my boss).

Rising Tide Conference

Few readers of this rag are local Bantustanis--presumably because I spend most of my time freaking out about national and international issues--but in case you live here, please consider attending the Rising Tide Conference in a week and a half. Oyster has the info. If you go to his index page, as usual, he has lots of links to recent articles on the clusterfucking going on down here.

How Familiar

I'm sad to say that, although I've never been to Lebanon, I immediately recognized all the telling details the HuffPo reporter described from his visit to south Lebanon and recognized all the pictures. I had been there repeatedly, over scores of blocks. Only it was in America, in my home, New Orleans, and my family's home in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Yesterday morning on Air America, Mark Riley asked listeners to get their mind around a city of 1.5 million evacuating, not knowing when they could return or whether their homes would be intact. He apparently forgot that a couple million Americans know exactly what that's like.

UPDATE: Here's LinkTV's latest selection of Middle Eastern news clips on Lebanon.

La Elección Mexicana Robada

Diebold? Hardly. Just old-fashioned vote "spoilage" and suppression--you know, the new American way.

But wait, there's more... and more....

Tehran: Oh Shit, We're Next

Pakistan's CIA-funded criminal Inter-Services Intelligence* isn't the only one reporting that (with the twin pincer move of the 9/11 anniversary and the November "elections" coming up) Bush™ is eager to start bombing Iran in October. Though much of the US media seems blissfully distracted, foreign governments are a little more attuned to the imminent devastation. Tehran is sweating mortar shells. They spent billions arming Hizbullah with rockets and high-tech hardware, only to see most of it wasted over the last month, thus significantly weakening the buffer against Israeli aggression that Lebanon provided.

Having seen what we did to Lebanon, I fear for Iran's citizenry. They are marked for bomb fodder.

*The people who brought you the recent UK "plot," thanks to their cozy relations with the CIA, Osama and the Taliban. Can you say "Terrorism by Proxy"?

How to Steal the Next Election

So I've been wondering: How is the GOP going to fix the next election? With so many Congressional seats in play, it would be pretty complicated to steal them all. If I were a soulless authoritarian who hates himself and others Karl Rove, I'd do what we did in (at least) the last two presidential elections: concentrate on a few states. But our technique, preventing people from voting and throwing out as many Democratic vote(r)s as possible, works only in close races. What do you do in 2006? You identify the several seats (plus a couple extra, just in case) that will allow you to keep Congress in your incredibly deep pocket. Don't worry, the Democrats won't send their "army of lawyers" to challenge squat, and even better than the squeaky-close decision in 2000, the Supreme Court is pretty much a lock.

And so it was that I checked Salon and saw this. Not surprisingly, Salon reports:
[Disenfranchised voter] Steele's plight has gotten relatively little notice from pundits and progressive activists confidently predicting a sweeping Democratic victory in November. Opinion polls show that a majority of the public wants a Democratic Congress, but whether potential voters -- black and Latino voters in particular -- will be able to make their voices heard on Election Day is not assured. Across the country, they will have to contend with Republican-sponsored schemes to limit voting. In a series of laws passed since the 2004 elections, Republican legislators and officials have come up with measures to suppress the turnout of traditional Democratic voting blocs. This fall the favored GOP techniques are new photo I.D. laws, the criminalizing of voter registration drives, and database purges that have disqualified up to 40 percent of newly registered voters from voting in such jurisdictions as Los Angeles County.

"States that are hostile to voting rights have -- intentionally or unintentionally -- created laws or regulations that prevent people from registering, staying on the rolls, or casting a ballot that counts," observes Michael Slater, the election administration specialist for Project Vote, a leading voter registration and voting rights group. And with roughly a quarter of the country's election districts having adopted new voting equipment in the past two years alone, there's a growing prospect that ill-informed election officials, balky machines and restrictive new voting rules could produce a "perfect storm" of fiascos in states such as Ohio, Florida, Arizona and others that have a legacy of voting rights restrictions or chaotic elections. "People with malicious intent can gum up the works and cause an Election Day meltdown," Steele says.

There is rarely hard proof of the Republicans' real agenda. One of the few public declarations of their intent came in 2004, when then state Rep. John Pappageorge of Michigan, who's now running for a state Senate seat, was quoted by the Detroit Free Press: "If we do not suppress the Detroit [read: black ] vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election cycle."
With the polls so inverse 1994ish, leaning hard against the GOP, I am far from confident that the Democrats can retake the House. Not living in a state with a close race and not being a lawyer, all I can do is beg my 3-5 non-Louisiana readers to 1) never vote with a provisional or absentee ballot, and 2) make sure you show everybody campaign-oriented who'll pay attention that Salon article and Greg Palast's coverage of the last two stolen elections. If there's any hope, even if Frodo still has the ring, every Democratic candidate in every state in play needs to do what our brother in Mexico is doing: challenge the vote. When, as in Mexico, the "legal system" breaks down, allowing these murderous bastards to stay in power, we need our own Velvet Revolution. I don't believe it will happen. But hey, that's what passports are for.

BTW, if progressives should be doing anything right now other than helping out campaigns, they should be suing to overturn every "poll tax" law that disenfranchises brown people. As Saruman tells Gandalf, "Time!? What time do you think we have? ...The hour is later than you think."

BONUS: If the GOP keeps up their thievery, we may soon go the way of Mexico.


War: What It's Good For

Now that Israel and Lebanon have taken a breather from their strikingly asymmetrical war, why not catch up on what the hell all that was about anyway? I still think the one person who really has a clue is Michael Chossudovsky, but Sy Hersh, as usual, is well worth perusing. And now John MacArthur has a piece in Harper's detailing the interesting realpolitik(al?) relationships between the US, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudia Arabia way back when George I was busy covering up for the CIA's and Reagan's monumental crimes.

I've been wondering lately, as I've often wondered about other wars, how all these different views and sources fit together. To some extent, they just don't, in part (I guess) because half of what insiders tell reporters are either outright lies or are cover stories that they may have been told and actually believe. I think the key to understanding why most wars get started is best viewed through what Paul Wolfowitz said about the latest adventure in Iraq:
The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.
As Noam Chomsky told Bill Maher, "There are lots of reasons to go into Iraq." I can think of several right away. In any case, I think that's true of most wars, and the case of Israel's war on Lebanon is no different. While Chossudovsky put his finger on the biggest reason--energy and security cooperation with Turkey which would do an end run around China and Middle Eastern oil--the infamous Clean Break document had to be a factor too, as did the Administration's desire to test their Iran plan in miniature, as did Israel's desire to decimate Hizbullah. As with Iraq, if you're a callous geostrategist, there are so many reasons to go to war that it's practically impossible to resist. Again, to a certain type of mind that non-sociopaths find hard to comprehend. We must comprehend it, and anticipate its moves, if we're ever to stop this global madness.

Boil That Frog

Ever eager to consolidate as much power as possible, now Bush doesn't just want to arrest American citizens without charge and "try" them in military tribunals, he wants direct control of the National Guard in the event of an "emergency." (We're sure he'd never engineer an emergency.) Guess what? The House loved that idea so much, they passed the bill. Fortunately, America's governors are fighting back.

A Cure for Ricky

Finally, Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum can rest easy: Andrew Sullivan reports that some Iraqi fundies are calling for goats to don diapers to help keep goatherders chaste. As Santorum and Bill O'Reilly are fond of telling us, once fags start getting hitched, next thing you know you'll be marrying a goat. Even worse: a gay goat. (Even worse: a gay terrorist-loving Wahabbist Lamont-supporting goat.)

So here's a thought: Ricky and Billy can help lonely rural men resist their sweating bestial yearnings by selling animal diapers. Hey, why not go even further: put anti-bestiality Bible verses on them in case the bestially inclined decide to "change" the diapers often.

Of course, there is a downside here. You know full well that once they start selling animal diapers, animal lingerie will follow soon after....

(Via the NYT Opinionator.)

I Can't Even Think of a Title

I guess you could say that last Saturday "we" crossed a journalistic line in America, but what famous line to compare this to is beyond me (suggestions are welcome). Bloggers have been getting increasingly influential in journalism and politics--whether deservedly so is a different issue--but last Saturday Pam of AtlasShrugged...(are you sitting down?) interviewed UN ambassador John "mustache" Bolton.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I don't know how to characterize this, as my chin is still on the floor. It was surprising enough that Bush's Dick went on the Limbaugh Miracle Hour--but at least Limbaugh, like Larry King, is a huge media personality. I could even see (god forbid) somebody like Ron Silver interviewing Cheney, just for the extra low marketing value. But Pam? She's not just a batshit crazy blogger, she's.... Oh, I give up.

I guess this is a new low in our long, seemingly endless descent into the journalistic abyss. Or a turning point. Or something.

My "favorite" part:
Such stock we're putting in the Lebanese government, who is totally kowtowing to Hezbollah. You put every remark by the crying Siniora, I mean, another Godfather moment. You remember Godfather, Frank Sinatra, it was supposed to be Frank Sinatra, he's crying, you're godfather. Same thing happens, somebody slap him. So how could you have so much faith in the Lebanon government? I mean, I want to believe, John. I believe in you. I want to believe.

(Via atrios.)


Armed Madhouse

If you're a bluish blogger, I probably don't have to promote the BBC's Greg Palast, one of the few investigative journalists left in this country. His reports on BBC's Newsnight have revealed how the last two presidential elections were stolen, that Al-Qaeda investigations were stymied from the top down before 9/11 (he even predicted the stealing of the 2004 election a week or so beforehand) and the two plans (both Foggy Bottom and Hell's Bottom) for divvying up Iraq's resources. Oh, and how George Bush, Jr. avoided the draft and went AWOL--reported in 1999, long before Rathergate. The NYT and 60 Minutes both have killed stories that Palast fed them. So no, if you don't know where to look (per usual), you wouldn't know 99% of the biggest stories in American journalism, all brought to you by a fellow citizen broadcasting across the pond.

The point? This: Palast's last book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (available on DVD as Bush Family Fortunes), was revealing enough. But if you want to know what the American lapdog media didn't tell you for the last five years, read Armed Madhouse. Like the NYT's David Cay Johnson's Perfectly Legal, it's extremely disturbing and well-researched. But unlike Johnson's revelations about the corruption and dismantling of the US tax system, Palast's book is incredibly funny. Although it reveals how wrong things have gone in this country, it doesn't leave you feeling empty and angry; it leaves full of laughter-induced endorphins. Frankly, that's how to make the most troubling news you haven't heard palatable.

Read Armed Madhouse. But only if you want to know the truth and not live in denial.

BONUS: Palast, a former economist who studied under Milton Friedman, gives the skinny on Tom Friedman's disastrous "globalization," showing which "protectionist" countries have the smallest gap between rich and poor and which world leader has led the charge for social welfare and proper use of gov't oil revenues.

SUPER HAPPY BONUS: It's no coincidence that I posted this after quoting Ned Beatty's speech in Network. In the middle of Armed Madhouse, Palast deconstructs and interprets Beatty's speech to show just how wrong the fact-averse Tom Friedman is when he lavishes his "expertise" on globalization to NYT readers. What a fucking hack.

Death in Lebanon

Death is the new black in Lebanon. If you can stomach it, here are some photos.


I'm Mad as Hell and I'm not Going to Take It Anymore

While square miles of Lebanon are being leveled, whole families being shredded by Israeli bombs (Oh, poor, defenseless Israel! They have to butcher children!), we thought it apt to repeat a bit of Ned Beatty's speech from Network. Why? Because even thought nobody reads this rag this rag is on the motherfucking money. And we mean "money."
You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it!! Is that clear?! You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance!

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels.

It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE!

Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state -- Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality -- one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

Beale: But why me?

Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Beale: I have seen the face of God.

Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.
Children are being butchered because entire national governments care more about dollars than lives. Ever has it been, ever shall it be.

Of Beatty's (Chayevsky's) speech, I take exception only to 1) Union Carbide, which merged with Dow while I was working there ("Welcome to Day One of the New Dow!") and 2) that bit about social benefits. Anybody alive today either knows or suspects that Chayevsky was being satirical or that, unfortunately, we just wound up getting fucked by the Great Big Corporation of America anyway. We'd offer to help Tom "I can see my own colon" Friedman to stuff his olive tree, Lexus and flat world up his protuberant ass, if he hadn't done so many years previously.

Why do I mention this? Because history invariably comes down to economics. Karl Marx wasn't right about much, but he was dead-on when he inverted Hegel and declared that history was about the material.

Again, ever has it been, ever shall it be.

If you don't believe me, scroll down and read why we're backing Israel's devastation of Lebanon.

Just to make clear, Israel, backed by the Bush administration, has butchered around 1000 Lebanese, many of them nowhere near defensable targets. Hizbullah, by contrast, has killed around 60 Israelis, the majority of them soldiers. Who's the "terrorist" here, Nasrallah or Olmert? Gosh, I'm sure it's the bad guy in the turban....

The Litani River, by the way, is more than 50% between the borders of Israel and Syria, and it was goal of founder Ben Gurion to rope off Israeli territory at that mark. But we're sure it's all about that defenseless Western client state defending itself against a poorly armed third-world army.

BONUS: We hate to mention this, since it affects all those persecuted Christians in America, but Qana, that place where Red Blogistan thinks Hizbullah staged lots of Lebanese "deaths" (hope those other 950 "deaths" were staged), was the place where that Jesus fellow turned water into wine. I know, I know, it's just a Bacchanalian myth retold in the Bible, like the Buddhist myth of the Enlightened One walking on water, but we're dealing with the Bible here, and everyone knows it's the Word of God. By the way, does anyone suspect, as I do, that Serapis or Orpheus was a model for "Christ"?

Ad Buyers Fall Behind on Predicting the Future

"Comedy writers are always fighting the last war," realitique has learned that Raw Story has learned that Time has learned.

Commenting on the lack of awareness that Time and possibly Raw Story possibly have shown, realitique editor Rob P*** noted, "Like, I think companies buy air time in chunks or something, you know, ahead of time, not, like, 12 hours before a show airs. Anyway, an intrepid reporter might want to make a fucking phone call to check that out before writing an 'article,'" P*** speculated.


I Have Seen the Face of God

Every hellish year that passes under the rule of the Boy King, Ned Beatty's speech to Howard Beale in Network becomes clearer. The world is one holistic system of dollars.

This is widely ignored in the War on (Some) Terror, and especially in Israel's operations in Lebanon. Never mind that Israel provoked Hizbollah, not the other way around, when they kidnapped two Palestinians, the war has nothing to do with self-defense or anything like "terror" or "democracy." If the war was about self-defense, Israel's wholesale slaughter of Lebanese civilians (one third are children) would make even less sense. But it's not about that at all.

It's about oil.

We linked to the following articles in an earlier post, but since Juan Cole is the only one to even bring up the subject--and he was just toying with the idea--we think it bears repeating:UPDATE: Chossudovsky elaborates on events in Lebanon.

Come October
, we or Israel may start slaughtering Syrians and Iranians.

UPDATE: Dahr Jamail reports from amid the devastation in Lebanon. Read it if you want to understand why the Lebanese don't see Hizbollah as a "terrorist organization."


That Extreme Left

The other day, one of our mystery reporters, who often defends the national news media against my protestations, asked me what publication represented "the left" or "the far left." I told him there was none. Yes, there may be some publication, but I'm unaware of anything out there. But that might mean that I don't know what O'Reilly's "far left" is. That's true.

I have no idea.

All day, I've heard ignorant pundocrats declare that "radical left," "extreme left" and "far left" commenters were against Lieberman and that only the "far left" of the Democratic Party supported Lamont. Only the most misinformed or rectally expulsive would even posit that Lamont's supporters would somehow be unrepresentative of the majority of Americans.

Yes, Cokie (she puts the "coke" in "Cokie") Roberts, David "I Sold My Brain for Merlot" Brooks and Charles "More Bloodletting, Please" Krauthammer support Lieberman, as does Rove. But no normal Democrat does.

And yet people like Cokie Roberts declaim on national news shows that "the far left" has taken over the Democratic Party, kicking those "moderates" to the curb.

On the basis of what? Nothing. There isn't one shred of evidence for anything that these national news assholes say about anything. All they do is assert.

If they were interested in evidence, they'd know that 60% of the population thinks that the Iraq War was a mistake and we need to get out. If they read polls, they'd know that the GOP is running scared. If they hadn't lobotomized themselves, they'd know that the GOP is doomed.

And yet you hear them asserting that the Democratic Party is making a mistake with Lamont. That "most Americans" want "security." That Democrats oppose the war at their electoral peril. Whomever asserts such is simply full of shit. They haven't read the polls.

Read the polls, Dems.

Bush is in the toilet. And he's not getting out anytime soon.

But they can't be bothered with "reading." Public opinion and the law are dead-set against them. Maybe next December they'll realize that that's the case.

There's a point here, and that is this. There is no "far left" or "exteme left." In fact, there's barely a "left." What there is is a "moderate" or "centrist" position, and that's the one represented by Ned Lamont or Howard Dean. Fiscal responsibility? getting out of a war we were lied into? Not "far left" positions. If anything, they're conservative positions. Civil liberties? Same thing.

Far left? Bullshit.

What's happened is what many other commenters have noted: The political center has shifted to the far Right. Now John Dean is the "left," which is absurd. Right now, the Constitution is the "far left." So be it. Most Americans are leftists. What do we want?

Rule of law.

UPDATE: The NYT agrees.


Cokie Calamity Scream Insanity

Somebody, please, sew Cokie Roberts' mouth shut. She's always muttered gibberish, but now she's talking backwards and twitching. In the This Week Without David Brinkley* segment I linked to, Cokie is off her rocker and George Will is only half off his. The only one making any sense is the non-pundit Sam Donaldson (please, come back, Sam!). What mystifies me is that few, if any, pundits seem to've read any polls for the past year. If they had, they'd know that Ned Lamont's positions are held by the majority of Americans, while Lieberman/Bush's are in the gutter.

*Al Franken's invention


Mosaic: What American TV News Is Not

Tired of one-sided, rah-rah Israel news coverage? Link TV has compiled reports from several Middle Eastern news agencies, including one from Israel. What's suprising is how balanced most of them are. Most show both sides (sometimes more) of the story and don't play the sympathy card. But they do show some of the carnage, so you can know what this war is costing Israel and Lebanon. Listening to a statement from Nasrallah, the head of Hizbollah, on one of the broadcasts, I was surprised at how sane and reasonable he sounded--unlike, say, Bush and Rice.

DISCLAIMER: I deplore the deaths of civilians everywhere, but it just ain't right to show only Israeli deaths, especially when Lebanese deaths drawf theirs.


Just now, from CBS radio news: "[The Mexican court's decision to only a partial recount] doesn't sit well with losers."

That's a stunning example of bias, almost as bad as the NYT and WaPo Israel-only headlines this morning, as if more Lebanese weren't killed in the last 24 hours than Israelis.

But what CBS news doesn't seem to understand is that, owing to the recount, Obrador is not a "loser." The election remains unresolved. With any luck, though, when the anemic recount finishes in late August, Obrador will refuse to accept the result.


Beirut: Before and After

Juan Cole links to a site with before-and-after aerial imagery of devastated Beirut. (He also helpfully contrasts Iran's "blowhard" Ahmadinejad and mass-murderer Olmert.)

UPDATE: After an investigation of 20+ cases, Human Right's Watch concludes that Israel is guilty of war crimes (a pesky problem they've had since their inception). The concluding paragraph is telling:
The Israeli government has blamed Hezbollah for the high civilian casualty toll in Lebanon, insisting that Hezbollah fighters have hidden themselves and their weapons among the civilian population. However, in none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in the report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah was operating in or around the area during or prior to the attack.
Now I understand that HRW has to thoroughly investigate cases, but anyone watching and reading non-US news could conclude that after a few days. Every day, Israel blows up a slew of civilians, and every day they apologize, say it was a "regrettable error" and claim Hizbollah was active nearby. At the same time, they claim they don't target civilians (really? what about blowing up power plants in Gaza?) and that they use "precision guided" weapons. We also hear that their intelligence is "faulty." Anyone who cared about sparing civilians would 1) not be bombing anybody, 2) would bomb only when the intelligence was good (which you can't always know). If after a few days of blowing up lots of women and children (hidden Hizbos, Rush?) you haven't figured out that your intelligence sucks, then you are either in a vegetative state or are lying.

The latter is clearly the case here.

If you want some idea of why all this is likely happening, check out the links near the bottom of the first paragraph of this post. (If you don't want to read the screed about 9/11, use the scroll bar.)

UPDATE: Israel bombs bridges in norther Lebanon. The area is not an Hizbollah stronghold. No doubt, Israel has (or will) argue that destroying the main route out of Beirut was necessary to stop incoming shipments of missles. But considering that this campaign has been in the works for years and that Israel started the conflict when they 1) shelled a family on a picnic at the beach in Gaza, and 2) kidnapped a doctor and his brother shortly thereafter, provoking Hizbollash to kidnap two Israeli soldiers, it strains credulity to believe that bombing the bridges has much to do with resupplying Hizbollah's rockets.

What, then, prompted the action? The reporter in the above video speculates that it was Nasrallah's recent warning that if Israel "bombed the heart of the capital, [Beirut,]...Hizbollah would launch missiles against Tel Aviv. In other words, Israel wanted an excuse to move north.


Raw Gets a Memo

Raw Story's obtained a 91-page Republican memo outlining strategies and messages for senators this election cycle.


Pentagon Coverup?

As if you had to ask. In any case, here's the scandalous Vanity Fair article about the Pentagon cooking intelligence about 9/11. I'm impressed that the magazine went as far as it did. If only another high-profile publication would go as far as the rest of the national media didn't go. If you want to read the most damning, least controversial, easiest to confirm book on the subject, read Nafeez Ahmed's The War on Truth.

This book only scratches the surface, but it's the most important surface. Ahmed doesn't even deal with the obvious controlled demolition of the WTC; he mostly details who knew what when, based almost exclusively on worldwide journalistic sources. Frankly, that's all you need to conclude that elements of the US and other Western governments were complicit. Look at more of the details and it's far, far worse than you might think.

UPDATE: Four of the 9/11 widows that Ann Coulter hates so much are calling into question the entire 9/11 Commission and its report.

Note to Assrocket

Powerline's Assrocket is so prone to talking out of said orifice that this should come as no surprise:
Will this be the first big win for the lefty bloggers? Maybe so. But that depends, obviously, on what happens in the general election. In all likelihood, Lieberman will win:
Quinnipiac's July 20 poll of 2,520 Connecticut voters showed Lieberman, running as an independent, ahead in a three-way general election with 51 percent compared with 27 percent for Lamont and 9 percent for Republican Alan Schlesinger.
In order for this to be a victory for the Nutroots, doesn't Lamont have to actually win? Otherwise, the Lamont primary victory will just be more evidence that the left-wing blogosphere hurts the Democratic Party by pushing it to the far--that is, unelectable--left.
Um, actually, it would demonstrate the exact opposite. The only reason Lamont would lose in such a race (following his meteoric rise in the polls, thanks in part to Blue Blogistan) is because it's one of those uncommon three-way races. If Lieberman wasn't such a turncoat and would respect his party's judgment, then he'd bow out and Lamont would serve the Republican challenger his ass.

NOTE: Just gotta say, John is so routinely full of shit and devoid of sense that I'm surprised that anyone would hire him as a lawyer. That's true of the other two bloggers at Powerline, but as stupid as they are, their meager intellects and knowledge of the world eclipse Assrocket's. Now that's saying something.

Crime Database

A private citizen in DC finally did for free what the city never bothered to do for years (despite pleas and protestations): The citizen build a comprehensive database of crimes committed in the city. Can you imagine how many more criminals would be caught and prosecuted if we had this for every municipality in the US? You could display the data however you wanted, determine trends and anticipate where you needed to deploy police (in both time and space) to curb crime. This is an idea that is long past its time. If anyone wants to point it out to their mayor and chief of police, please do so and here's the kicker: The tool would save loads of time and money, because it would make police work more efficient. Any city council and mayor's office would be behind it if it would save money. Plus, you could make connections about crimes committed across the US, graph trends, connect with cities implementing effective strategies and read police reports, incarceration status and contextual statistics as well as link to news coverage.

I am in awe.

How to Expand Your Favorite War

Yet more confirmation of what the current war is about and how the hawks plan on starting it. (Note: Subscription only. Either put up with a short ad or go to bugmenot.)

ADDENDUM: The story details how Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle and others are trying to minimize Condi Rice's role. But it's not as if Condi's trying to negotiate a settlement; she seems to be stalling for time.

Israel May Be Bombing the Red Cross

Not only is Israel sacrificing their own citizens as well as far more of Lebanon's for "the greater good," but now it looks like their bombing the Red Cross. And does anybody still believe they're demolishing a clearly marked UN observation post, killing four, was accidental?