Sunday, March 30, 2003

FCC, Part 2
Fight Brews at FCC on Media Merger Rules: Critics say chairman is withholding key details of proposals to relax limits on ownership.
By Edmund Sanders, [L.A.] Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell on Thursday brushed aside calls that he slow down the agency's review of media ownership rules, and said he would ask for a vote on proposed reforms by June 2.
But as the political dance over the controversial issue gets into full swing at the FCC, some commissioners are complaining that Powell is withholding key details about potential rule changes and playing favorites by giving some commissioners more information than others.The budding disharmony raises the specter that Powell could face another bureaucratic dogfight similar to the high-profile FCC battle Powell waged -- and then lost -- over telephone deregulation.
FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, the most outspoken opponent of efforts to relax media ownership rules, complained that he has yet to see drafts concerning a proposed mathematical formula to measure the diversity of media voices in a local market, even though Powell staffers have discussed the idea publicly and are testing it in different media markets.
"I hope it's not dropped on us at the last minute," Copps said.
In addition, there is growing anxiety that Powell and FCC Media Bureau Chief W. Kenneth Ferree will wait too long before releasing their final recommendations, not giving other commissioners enough time to review them before the vote.
That was a key complaint in the February battle between Powell and fellow Republican Kevin S. Martin, who ultimately joined the agency's two Democrats to defeat Powell's telephone deregulation agenda.
In a speech Thursday in Washington before the Media Institute, a 1st Amendment advocacy group, Powell stressed that he wanted to prevent the media ownership review from turning into another "power struggle" between commissioners.
FCC officials said the bureau is working to make final decisions and keep commissioners informed, but that proposals -- including a new mathematical-based diversity index -- still are evolving. The officials denied that there are efforts to withhold details from commissioners, but said briefings may vary depending upon when they occur and how often commissioners have time to meet. "It's still very fluid," one official said.
Among other things, media ownership rules prevent cross-ownership of TV stations and newspapers in the same market, and prohibit a single company from owning TV stations that reach more than 35% of the nation. (Tribune Co., parent of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA-TV Channel 5, is lobbying to kill the newspaper-TV rule.)
As the vote nears, tensions are rising inside the FCC.
In their separate public appearances Thursday, Powell and Copps traded barbs over the issue. In a news briefing, Copps -- who worries that media consolidation will give too much power to a handful of entertainment conglomerates -- chastised Powell and others for "sitting around," waiting for outside parties to supply comments on the rules. Copps said they should join him at a series of public hearings he is conducting around the country.
Powell, at the Media Institute forum, called his critics "noisemakers" who are using the "usual alarmist political attacks designed just to prevent change."
In addition, Powell and Martin are privately sparring over how far to go in relaxing the newspaper-TV rule. Though both favor lifting the rule, Powell wants to include newspaper outlets under a new diversity index, while Martin is pushing for broader deregulation for newspapers, sources said.
The proposal for the diversity index also is beginning to raise concerns with both consumer advocates and industry groups, who are nervous about how such a new rule would be applied.
Three Republican senators this month urged Powell to disclose any proposed rule changes before formally adopting them so that consumers and lawmakers
can have time to review them. But Powell signaled Thursday that he is not inclined to do so.

"He has really dug in his heels on this," said Gene Kimmelman, co-director of Consumers Union.
War coverage could alter U.S. media policy: Reporting may influence debate about ownership
News coverage of the war in Iraq, unprecedented in its frequency and immediacy, may influence something long after the war concludes: Who gets to own the media that provide the news?
Well, it is about time. But I don't think that this will turn out as media activists hope. The FCC, currently chaired by Michael Powell, Colin's son, has always been "liberal" on the ownership rules. This isn't liberal in the true sense of the word. It means that they don't think there should be expansive regulation on broadcast media. However, there is more than enough proof out there that radio and TV stations need to be re-regulated, and not liberalized.
More on Moore, Part 4
Michael Moore plans Bush-bin Laden film
LOS ANGELES, March 28 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Michael Moore's next project might be more controversial than his Oscar-winning documentary "Bowling for Columbine."
According to a report in Friday's Daily Variety, Moore is working on a documentary about the "the murky relationship" between former President George Bush and the family of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The paper said the movie, "Fahrenheit 911," will suggest that the bin Laden family profited greatly from the association.
Moore's anti-war, anti-Bush Oscar acceptance speech provoked a mixture of cheers and boos at the Academy Awards last Sunday.
In addition to the Best Documentary Oscar, "Bowling for Columbine" also had an extraordinarily robust bottom line. Made for about $3 million, it has grossed nearly $40 million worldwide -- making it one of the most commercially successful documentaries of all time.
Variety reported that Moore is working out a deal with Mel Gibson's production company, Icon Productions, to finance "Fahrenheit 911."
According to Moore, the former president had a business relationship with Osama bin Laden's father, Mohammed bin Laden, a Saudi construction magnate who left $300 million to Osama bin Laden. It has been widely reported that bin Laden used the inheritance to finance global terrorism.
Moore said the bin Laden family was heavily invested in the Carlyle Group, a private global investment firm that the filmmaker said frequently buys failing defense companies and then sells them at a profit. Former President Bush has reportedly served as a senior adviser with the firm.
"The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months after Sept. 11," said Moore.
Moore told Variety the primary focus of the new project will be to examine what has happened to the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. He accused the Bush administration of using a tragic event to push its agenda.
"It (the new project) certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties," said Moore. "It asks a number of questions that I don't have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out."
Moore said he expects the new movie to be in U.S. theaters in time for the 2004 presidential election.
While some critics accused Moore of being anti-American for his Oscar speech, Moore told Variety business has been very good for his movie and his best-selling book "Stupid White Men: And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation."
"I expressed exactly what was in the film and instead of being blacklisted, I've not only gotten a deal to fund 'Fahrenheit 911' but offers on the film after," he said. "Presales on ('Bowling for Columbine's') video release ran ahead of 'Chicago' this week, and my book is returning to the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list."
Moore said the success of his documentary and book reflects majority public support for his political argument.
"It's because the majority of Americans agree with me, see the economy in the toilet and didn't vote for George W," he said. "People are now realizing you can question your government while still caring about the soldiers."
504 residents opt to pay more taxes
Back in February, I wrote an op-ed piece in The Winchester Star: ["CLT and the Voluntary Tax Check-off"]] suggesting that taxpayers who wanted to pay more in taxes could do so through a checkoff. At that time, only 20 taxpayers had taken advantage of the program. Here are the latest figures. From the Boston Sunday Herald:

Voting with wallets: Here is the latest update on how many Massachusetts liberals are taking the option of paying higher state income taxes at the old rate of 5.85 percent, rather than the new 5.3 percent rate imposed by the mean-spirited taxpayers. According to the Department of Revenue, so far 504 of 1,139,777 state filers have opted to pay the higher rate, for a total of an additional $55,636, which means most of them pay very little income tax to begin with. For those of you keeping score at home, that 504 number translates into .004 of 1 percent of filers - odd, considering that 41 percent of the voters claimed in the referendum that they were against cutting the rate to 5.3 percent.

Higher taxes for thee, but not for me.
Sunday war links
A Lesson in Diplomacy Juliet Johnson takes you into Condoleezza Rice's "The Role of the Military in Politics" class at Stanford University.
Iraq War Plan Written Over Beers
Stray US missiles hit Saudi Arabia
Report: Rumsfeld Ignored Pentagon Advice on Iraq
U.S. General Denies He Sought More Troops
War's Military, Political Goals Begin to Diverge
Iraqi civilians feed hungry US marines
Army names camps after oil companies
Newt Gingrich, the new King of Iraq?
U.S. forces see growing threat of chemical attack
Dowd: 'Back off, Syria and Iran!'
Arabs Shocked at Rumsfeld's Syria Threat
Syria's Assad: 'We will not wait' to be next U.S. target

Saturday, March 29, 2003

War links
Adviser to U.S. Aided Maker of Satellites More dirt on Perle.
US turns sights on Syria and Iran Hmm, just as Ariel Sharon predicted.
Syria, Iran playing small, but key role by aiding Iraq The propaganda for future regime changes starts ...
Kucinich: This War is Wrong And Must End Too bad his campaign is going nowhere ...
Dean blasts Dem rival Kerry for 'wobbly' war stance ... however, it is a good thing his campaign is going somewhere.
Ritter Speaks on War in Iraq
FoxNews insults war protesters I am surprised Brian Kilmeade didn't go out there and beat all the protesters up himself, because he is such a tough guy! And a jackass.<
Support the Warrior Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits! The hypocrisy of it all. Support the troops ... but don't you dare take care of the older troops!

Friday, March 28, 2003

Underestimating the war:
Where the hell has the media been?
For months, leading up to the invasion of Iraq, almost no one in the media questioned remarks made by the generals or the chickenhawks who basically said this was going to be an easy war. Rumsfeld was even quoted as saying that the Iraqis would "accept" that the U.S. was liberating them and they would rise up against their dictator. Well, it didn't happen overnight, like they all suggested. And finally, the media has started to take a look at all the crap that was being promoted - with almost no challenge.

Here are some links to check out:

The Flaw in Shock and Awe
Some ask whether plan underestimated Iraqis
Brass rethink battle plan: Resistance found to be stronger than thought
Conservative commentators pretend they never said the war would be a cakewalk
More on Moore, Part 3
Oscar winning film director Michael Moore has a great piece today In the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and ["Starting a Ruckus Was The Right Thing to Do"] where he explains what happened on stage at Oscar night.

I then said what I had been saying all week at those other awards ceremonies. I guess a few other people had heard me say those things too because before I had finished my first sentence about the fictitious president, a couple of men (some reported it was "stagehands" just to the left of me) near a microphone started some loud yelling. Then a group in the upper balcony joined in. What was so confusing to me, as I continued my remarks, was that I could hear this noise but, looking out on the main floor, I didn't see a single person booing. But then the majority in the balcony - who were in support of my remarks - started booing the booers. It all turned into one humongous cacophony of yells. And all I'm thinking is: Hey, I put on a tux for this?
Frankly, I think he might be making some of this up. But, who knows? He has been going off on Bush being fictional for years now.
War links
For Broadcast Media, Patriotism Pays This really says it all.
Bush preaches patience: Some in Mass. delegation critical
Tens of thousands march in Iran against Iraq war Eh, be careful Iran, you are probably next!
Cassidy: War in the newsroom Some light fare.
Perle: The first political casualty Unfortunately, he is still an advisor. But here is just another example proving that there is no liberal media bias. If Perle were Clinton's foreign policy advisor, there would be a Holy War on FoxNews about his conflicts of interest and there hasn't been a peep. In fact, the first time I heard Perle's name on FoxNews was last night, when Brit Hume stumbled all over himself to commend Perle for resigning. There also hasn't been word one about Bill Kristol or Bill Bennett and their involvement in the strategizing of this war.
The history behind the invasion of Iraq
With the invasion of Iraq now underway, our nation prays for the safe return of our troops and for a limit to Iraqi civilian causalities. However, while we are hoping and praying, we must also not forget the real reasons for this invasion and work to prevent these preemptive actions in the future. Altering the famous George Santayana quote, those who don't understand the past are condemned to repeat it.

President George W. Bush has said these strikes are due to the horrific attacks of Sept. 11 and the future proliferation of weapons to terrorists.

But in fact, Operation Iraqi Freedom has been conceived over the last decade by William Bennett, Dick Cheney, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Dan Quayle, and Paul Wolfowitz, through a think tank called the Progress for a New American Century [].

You may recognize some of these names: Cheney was defense secretary during the first Gulf War and is now the vice president. Quayle used to be vice president. Kristol was Quayle's chief of staff. Rumsfeld is now defense secretary. Perle and Wolfowitz are guiding Bush through his foreign policy.

The political incestuous ness of it all is pretty disturbing.

What is also unsettling is that both Kristol and Bennett have been on TV for months as "news analysts," yet the supposed liberal media has never bothered to acknowledge their involvement in creating Bush's foreign policy.

The idea was originally hatched at the end of the first Gulf War, when then-president George H. W. Bush - by U.N. mandate - drove Hussein from Kuwait. But after the Iraqis were forced out of Kuwait, many inside the administration wanted Hussein overthrown altogether. Some in the intelligence community even encouraged Shiites in the south and Kurds in the north to rise up against Hussein. But Bush understood the diplomatic and foreign implications of an overthrow, and instead, adhered to the U.N. resolution.

Regrettably, when the Shiite and Kurdish factions rose up against Hussein, he beat them back, with weapons he acquired from the Reagan Administration.

Rumsfeld knows all about this. An executive and board of director for numerous defense contractors, he met with Hussein in 1983 as a "special envoy" for Reagan. Soon after, the weapons of mass destruction flowed to one of our government's favorite dictators.

Of course, the first Gulf War could have been avoided altogether, when Hussein met with U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie in July 1990 to discuss his border quarrels. Instead of trying to diffuse the situation, Glaspie said, "We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait."

Despite claims by conservatives, attempts to overthrow Hussein continued through the Clinton administration. In 1996 and again in 1998, opposition forces were armed and assisted with air strikes.

These actions did not succeed in changing the regime but have kept Hussein contained; his ruthlessness impaired by no-fly zones and oppressive economic sanctions that killed over 1 million innocent Iraqi women and children.

Some could say Bush's invasion of Iraq is eliminating a past evil perpetrated by American foreign policy. Except, this war is not about cleaning up America's global messes; it is about payback and our ability to reap Iraq's natural resources for future use - a financial windfall to Bush's political backers. As one energy analyst recently stated, whoever controls the reserve oil fields in Iraq, will also control the price of oil for the next century. And as Ralph Nader said so accurately last week, "If Iraq was producing carrots; I don't think we'd be quite as interested."

If Bush was serious about ending dictatorial regimes, he would start by limiting the export of military weapons overseas. According to the Arms Control Association, our government has exported over $131 billion worth of weapons in the last seven years. Most of these weapons were shipped to developing nations. Common sense suggests that our government would want to keep these weapons out of the hands of future dictators. But defense contracts are good business and these interests flood millions of dollars in campaign contributions to politicians on both sides of the aisle.

So instead of acting sensibly, we are being foolish - spending $75 billion [or more] to turn Iraq into dust, only to spend billions more to build the nation back up again.

Inside my own head and heart, there is an internal battle going on.

On the one side, there is the cryptic fascination of a newsman watching the bombs vaporize a dictator's strongholds. It is extremely enthralling.

But my own personal faith tells me this war is morally wrong, a sentiment captured by a protester last week holding a sign in Government Center asking, "Who would Jesus bomb?"

The answer is unmistakable and unambiguous, and our president is senselessly ignoring it.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

War links:
Studying antiwar In-depth piece about the protesters here in the Boston area by Kristin Lombardi. I will note here again, Lombardi, not The Boston Globe, was the first reporter to break the Catholic priest/molestation scandals.
Sign of protest Need some sign ideas? Here are some from NYC last weekend.
Sept. 11 commission stiffed in funding bill So much for finding "the truth."
Unembedded journalist pisses off the military
Missiles Changing Attitudes: Iraqi Civilian Deaths Stirring Up Anti-American Sentiment Among Villagers
FAIR: Using "Pro-Troops" to Mean "Pro-War" Is Anti-Journalistic I have had to stop watching FoxNews. I usually like its balanced slant and fast pace, but since the war started they have been so gung ho and so anti-peace, that it is beyond offensive. CNN, with its coverage of the British Defence press conferences and BBC correspondents, has been extremely thorough.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Should Bush be charged with war crimes? think so []. They point to comments made by Donald Rumsfeld about the Geneva Convention, saying it is illegal for countries to use prisoners of war as props for television. And on their site, they have a picture of "The American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, tied up and humiliated by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. This raises a good point, also raised by my friend Ralph. What about Jose Padilla [also thought to be "John Doe 2" from Oklahoma City bombing fame]? Padilla is an American, not a foriegner, and is being held without being charged and without being allowed to meet with his attorney. This is unconstitutional and grounds, in Ralph's mind, for impeachment.
War links:
Military calls up 30,000 more troops
Paratroopers land in Northern Iraq
India: Test more missiles, calls Pakistan terrorist epicenter
Food Aid Seen as Little More Than Crumbs
American Hawks' Plan Sounds Chilling Today
Opinions Begin to Shift as Public Weighs War Costs
Boston Phoenix: War & Peace Web log Good stuff from the writers at the Phoenix
Bracing for Bush's War at Home: Ground Laid for Historic Presidential Powers Push
Emerson College TV's 'Political Pulse'
Quick thank you goes out to RIch for having me on Emerson College's new "Political Pulse" TV show. I got to talk N.H. primary politics with Rich and WERS's political reporter [whose name is slipping me] for about 10 minutes. After the taping, I sat in the control room and watched the crew put the show together. Despite some minor spelling errors on the digital text and some editing glitches, the producers did a pretty good job. It looked as good as anything done on some of the smaller independent news stations I have seen. Good luck with the show Rich and thanks again.

Monday, March 24, 2003

War updates:
POW comes from New Mexico, family says
U.S. Steps Up Secret Surveillance
Al-Qa'eda close to making anthrax, says US
War Could Be Big Business for Halliburton
Combat erupts in a port city thought secure
U.S. troops find chem site
More on Moore, Part 2
After being booed off stage, Moore spoke to reporters. Here is what he said, according to the Associated Press:

I'm an American, and you don't leave your citizenship when you enter the doors of the Kodak Theater. What's great about this country is that you can speak your mind.
He said that, far from being appalled, many people in the audience stood up to applaud him.
"I say tonight I put America in a good light," he said praising the decision to push ahead with the Oscars (news - web sites) despite the war raging in the Middle East.
"I showed how vital it is to have free speech in our country and all Americans have the right to stand up for what they believe in," he said.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Michael Moore: Hollywood ass ... but correct
Reuters: Sunday, March 23, 2003; 10:36 PM
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Politics grabbed center stage at the Academy Awards on Sunday as the winner for best documentary, director Michael Moore, charged President Bush with waging a "fictitious war."
Wagging his finger from the stage as he was both applauded and booed by the assembled celebrities, Moore said, "We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you."
Moore won for "Bowling for Columbine," a provocative film on the roots of gun violence in America, whose title refers to the Colorado high school where two students massacred 13 people before killing themselves in 1999.
Moore, who received a standing ovation from the assembled celebrities, invited the other nominees for best documentary film to join him onstage in solidarity against the war against Iraq.
"We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results, that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons," Moore said.
Oscar host Steve Martin joked after Moore finished speaking that "the Teamsters are helping Mr. Moore into the trunk of his limo."

I think Moore is hilarious and both "Roger & Me" and "The Big One" are pretty good films. But this was not the time or the place for this. It is just too bad that he couldn't be allowed his first amendment right to speak his mind before being booed off the stage. Isn't that what the troops are fighting for?
The Judicially-Selected Dictator's Pre-Emptive War
by Ralph Nader, Sunday, March 23, 2003
As this is written, the campaign known as "shock and awe" has begun over Iraq and the five million civilian inhabitants of Baghdad. Bombs indeed shock, but why the word "awe"? This is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's way of turning the Iraq bombardment against what he knows is a defenseless country, run by a brutal dictator, into a metaphor for the rest of the world. He wants the whole world in "awe" of the mighty military superpower in preparation for the next move against another country in or outside the "axis of evil".
This is truly an extraordinary time in American history. A dozen men and one woman are making very risky consequential decisions sealed off from much muted dissent inside the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and other agencies that have warned the President and his small band of ideological cohorts to think more deeply before they leap. They are launching our nation into winning a war which generates later battles that may not be winnable - at least not without great economic and human costs to our country.
But let's back up a moment. Our founding fathers most emphatically placed the warmaking power in the hands of Congress. They did not want some arrogant or brooding successor to King George III to plunge the country into war. They wanted a collegial body of many elected representatives to decide openly (Article I, section 8).
Last year, Congress, with leaders of both Parties, surrendered their warmaking power to George W. Bush. This itself is unlawful. But unfortunately, there is no judicial remedy for any citizen to challenge assigning the warmaking power to the President. Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) eloquently and repeatedly objected to this constitutional abdication. The large majority of Congress just shrugged. They knew that there was no punishment for this institutional crime.
Mr. Bush, on the other hand, was only too eager to strip the Congress of such authority, just as the Attorney General, both by action and by demanding and receiving such crushers of civil liberties as the so-called U.S. Patriot Act, was eager to diminish the role of the judiciary. Having turned our federal system of separation of powers between three branches into a one-branch hegemony, Mr. Bush proceeded to flout the U.N. Charter, which the U.S. mostly drafted and signed on to in 1945.
His preemptive war - the first in U.S. history - against a nation that has neither attacked nor threatened our country cannot be construed as self-defense and therefore violates international law. Washington would certainly make exactly this point were another nation in the world to attack a country it finds noxious.
Then how do the arguments for going to war that Bush has made endlessly on the mass media for a year, without a steady rebuttal by the cowering Democratic Party, stand up? Bush's assertion that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program is based on evidence that Congressman Henry Waxman called a "hoax." In a blistering letter to the President on March 17th, Congressman Waxman all but called Bush's assertion that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger a lie, citing both the CIA and the International Atomic Energy Agency as his authorities. Neither agency has evidence of a rebuilding nuclear weapons program.
President Bush has repeatedly tried to tie Iraq with Al-Qaeda. There is no evidence to support these allegations. The two are mortal enemies - one secular and the other fundamentalist. The CIA informed Congress that confronting a U.S. overthrow attack, our former, supplied ally, Saddam Hussein "probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." Even then, analysts have published articles casting doubt on the efficacy of whatever mass destruction weapons he may have against a modern air and missile attack followed by spread-out armored vehicles racing toward a surrendering army.
The UN inspectors found nothing in their forays inside Iraq before Bush stopped their increasing penetration of that regime.
On March 18th, the Washington Post, which avidly favors the war, felt obliged to publish a story by two of its leading reporters titled, "Bush Clings to Dubious Allegations About Iraq." The article questioned a "number of allegations" that the Bush administration is making against Iraq that "have been challenged - and in some cases disproved - by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports."
Now that the short war has begun, it is hoped that there will be minimum casualties on both sides. But after the U.S. military prevails, the longer battles during occupation begin. They are fires, disease, hunger, plunder and looting by desperate people and roving gangs, and bloodletting between major religious and ethnic factions.
U.S. intelligence agencies say the Iraq war will likely increase global terrorism including inside this country. Respected retired military generals and admirals, such as Marine General Anthony Zinni, believe it will destabilize the Middle East region, undermine the war on terrorism and distract from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "King George" is not listening to them or to other prominent former leaders in the State Department, Pentagon or the major intelligence agencies, including his father's own National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft.
This must be the only war in our history promoted by chickenhawks - former belligerent draft dodgers - and opposed by so many of those inside and outside of government who served in the armed forces.
Still the Messianic militarist in the White House refuses to even listen - either to opposing viewpoints held by tens of millions of Americans or to viewpoints counseling other non-war ways to achieve the objectives in Iraq. Indeed, he has refused to meet with any domestic antiwar delegation. Groups representing veterans, labor, business, elected city officials, women, clergy, physicians and academics with intelligence experience have written requesting an audience (see
Michael Kinsley is a sober, bright columnist who said that "in terms of the power he now claims, George W. Bush is now the closest thing in a long time to dictator of the world." One might also use a Canadian phrase - an elected dictator. Correction - a judicially-selected dictator.

As always, Nader nails it right on the head.
How do the Kurds fit into all this?:
Interesting exchange at the Centcom Report a few minutes ago broadcast on MSNBC. U.S. General John Abizaid, the deputy commander for the operation, was answering questions from reporters.
One reporter asked, 'How do the Kurd fit into all this?'
Abizaid said the coalition had a "good" relationship with the Kurds and the KDP [Kurdish Democratic Party] but he would not speculate on the "democratic or different Iraqi regimes that emerge" at the end of the invasion.
Huh? You have got to be kidding me? Someone needs to work on Abizaid's press preparation.
Woodlief 2004 piece in the Boston Herald:
There is a pretty good Wayne Woodlief piece in the Boston Herald this morning about how the front-loaded Democratic primaries could cost the party in 2004. Here is the link: ["Hasty nomination will cost Dems in 2004"] but unfortunately, you can’t get it for free because of the Herald’s new "pay to read" policy for columns.
Essentially, Woodlief advocates a regional primary system, which isn’t a bad idea.
In some ways, the process already has regional primaries. Over the past few years, there has been a traditional Super Tuesday multi-state southern primary created to solidify victory for southern candidates. The New England states, sans N.H., have also lumped their primaries together, with some western states also considering regional primaries.
But in 2004, unless something changes, Woodlief suggests that the front-loaded primaries may have a Democratic nominee decided by March 2 – extremely early in the process – and just six weeks after the Iowa caucuses, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 19.
The six weeks in between "would largely be a jet-setting, advertising, TV and tarmac campaign, with clever slogans trumping depth of ideas," Woodlief worried. Big states like California, New York, Ohio, Georgia, and all of New England, will vote on March 2, further proving that the money will be more important than message.
But let’s be honest, the Democratic National Committee [DNC] consolidated the process because they want the primaries to end early. Terry McAuliffe, the man behind the Dems disastrous 2002 mid-term election losses, and others, mistakenly believe that their chances will be better to beat Bush if they spend the months before the convention rallying around one candidate, ala Clinton in 1992. But the DNC is not alone in this strategy. Many secretaries of state across the country want the primaries moved up early so that media companies in these states can benefit from the millions that will be spent on TV and radio ads. Everyone knows about WMUR-TV Channel 9’s new broadcast studios in Manchester, N.H., nicknamed "The House Steve Forbes Built," since he ran millions of dollars worth of ads on the station.
However, the worst part about a front-loaded primary is that voters will be influenced by the Washington political and media establishment choosing an "elect-able" candidate and foisting this candidate on the voters. This will most surely guarantee that the Democratic nominee will be a corporate shill, one step below Bush, and the Democrats will continue the tradition of alienating voters and ignoring the economic issues of working families.
As it stands now, nine candidates are serious contenders: Former Vt. Gov. Howard Dean, N.C. Sen. John Edwards, Mo. Rep. Dick Gephardt, Fla. Sen. Bob Graham, Mass. Sen. John Kerry, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Ill. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, from NYC.
However, with such a diverse stable of candidates, the primary process might be a bloodbath instead of a quickie.
Hypothetically, Gephardt will win Iowa as he did in 1988; Kerry and Dean will split NH; Edwards, Graham, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton will split South Carolina on Feb. 3; with Gephardt taking Missouri, and Arizona probably being a toss up. Since Democratic primaries are not winner take all, coming in second and third will be important for any candidate trying to survive to the March 2 primary and in the long-term convention delegate race. On that date, Kucinich will probably win Ohio, with Graham, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton splitting Georgia, and Kerry, Dean, and Lieberman taking their home New England states. California is a toss up but a monster of one.
Since the race is still very early, things could change.
Note that in the 2000 Republican race, numerous “heavy hitters” who dipped their toes in early in 1999, were gone before one primary vote was cast. Despite raising millions, Elizabeth Dole [$5.1 million], former VP Dan Quayle [$4.1 million], and former Tenn. Gov. and 1996 candidate Lamar Alexander [$2.4 million] dropped out early, with Alexander bitterly complaining that then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush was sealing up the primary process a year early: "If we are not careful, we'll end up with only a race between the rich and the already famous," he said.
But Woodlief missed a big point while addressing the media vacuum for Democrats.
He noted that Dems "risk losing lots of free media time by not having a spirited race during the spring and summer," adding 'You know, the kind of attention Bush and McCain attracted in the 2000 campaign long after Gore (having blown Bradley’s tires off early) had subsided from the spotlight.'But this all depends on how the media covers the race.
In 2000, the Republicans had numerous primaries and debates between the Iowa caucuses and NH primary, while the Democrats had a lull between the Feb. 8 Delaware primary, and March 7 when 16 states had primaries and caucuses. This pause, and the way the media jumped on the McCain "Straight Talk Express," essentially deflated the Bradley campaign and led to his demise. Sure, Bradley didn’t win Iowa [35 percent] or NH [48 percent] but he did very well against a sitting vice president. Had McCain lost to Bush in NH – sure, shockingly doubtful – Bradley would have been the story that night. In fact, McCain factor or not, Bradley barely lost to Gore and the media scarcely acknowledged it.
Hindsight being what it is, had Bradley been the Democratic nominee – instead of the ever twisting and exaggerating Gore – he probably would have won the presidency for the Democrats. Bradley was better on the social issues and politically closer to Ralph Nader than Gore so the Greens would not have been a factor. Bradley would have easily beat Bush in the debates. Bradley would have considered a conservative vice presidential candidate – probably a southern governor similar to Lieberman. But this would have brought balance to the ticket, instead of tilting the ticket even more to the right, as Gore did.
Despite being a "southern candidate," Gore lost every southern state [sans Florida, heh, heh], including his home state of Tennessee and Clinton’s home state of Arkansas. Gore was a bad candidate, who ran a bad campaign, lost every southern state, but almost won the presidency nonetheless. This proves that a northern Democrat can win the presidency with one or two southern states. Some Democrats – like Kerry – are looking at this and planning accordingly.
One other point to make about the Woodlief piece, however petty, is that the regional primaries were not "first sprung in 2000." The regional primary idea has been floating around for awhile.
Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt proposed a western regional primary back in 1996, to counter the perceived power of the southern and New England regional primaries. In 1998, PBS' "Newshour" ran a piece about California and other states moving their primaries up earlier in the year, and possibly considering a regional primary process instead. In 1999, the Republican National Committee [RNC] created a group to study regional primaries. These studies led to "The Delaware Plan" [or inverted pyramid plan] wherein states would be divided by population into four groups, with the smallest population state voting first, which was defeated by the RNC. However, this could be considered by the Democrats as a way to guarantee the return of retail politicking.
This war is all about oil
I had a conversation earlier today with a person I know who has a family member who works for a foreign energy conglomerate which I will not name. The person reportedly told my friend that the war was "all about oil." Paraphrasing, he told my friend:
'This war is about removing the influence that OPEC has over the price of oil. Whoever controls the reserves in Iraq controls the price of oil for the next 100 years. Of course this war is all about oil.'
War updates:
U.S. dismayed as Turkish troops pour into northern Iraq Here we go ...
Saddam's Guerrillas Thwart U.S. River Crossing
Arab TV Shows Captured American Troops
Drudge has pictures Ugh ... and so sad.
NYT: Critics Say Coverage Helped Lead to War I could have told you that!
Baghdad Burns While Dubya Does Lunch
Dowd: Perle's Plunder Blunder A must read!
RAF Tornado hit by Patriot missile

Saturday, March 22, 2003

'Dead bodies everywhere' in Safwan; napalm used:
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, hundreds of Iraqi were killed in the border town of Safwan and allied forces used napalm in the attack: ["'Dead bodies are everywhere' ... Saddam's first martyrs lost"].
That's funny, I haven't heard anything about this on American television. However, I will give the media some kudos for covering the protesters both locally and nationally. During the last Gulf War, local media ignored numerous protests. I only knew about one of them because I heard it out my window and went outside to see Boylston Street filled with thousands of people - in the middle of January - marching against the war. Later that night, none of the TV stations covered the march. This time around, there was a lot of coverage of the protests. C-SPAN even aired some of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's [CBC] news shift which was extremely interesting to watch. The difference in coverage was startling. While US broadcasters have been in "awe" of the impressive explosions and vapid military analysis, the CBC actually interviewed humanitarian and refugee workers preparing to fly to the region to assist.
No terror attack at Seabrook:
The Manchester Union Leader is reporting this morning that the two people picked up by police last night after an intrusion detection system was set off were not terrorists.
"This does not appear in any way shape or form to be a terrorist attack of any kind," said Seabrook Station Spokesman Al Griffith. Authorities are seeking a third person though. Griffith said the two people detained were driving on the north access road, outside the perimeter of the plant, until they reached a security booth. "They said they were lost and our security officers turned them around and had them go back out ... At some point Seabrook police pulled them over an detained them," he said.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Two 'terrorists' arrested at Seabrook:
WHDH News tonight reported that two "terrorists" were arrested trying to take over the Seabrook Nuclear Power plant around 9:30 p.m. tonight. I couldn't find anything online about it.
'This is the only son I had'
Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall Waters-Bey, 29, was killed today in a helicopter crash. A Baltimore TV station broke the news and had a chance to interview the family.
It's sad that this war is going on and that we have to lose so many people over nothing. I can't bring my brother back, but I really miss him," one of the victim's sisters said. As he held a picture of his son, Waters-Bey's father, Michael, said: "I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son."
He then walked away in tears, with his family behind him. Kenneth, the Marine's only son, was with the family. So sad, so very sad.
WFNX goes back to old format [Yeah!]:
According to two radio columns today, the FNX Radio Network will be changing formats – back to the old days. Gone are the terrible pseudo metal bands, disguised as "alternative," and back are the grand old days of "rock the boat" WFNX radio.
Program Director "Cruze" said the Boston, Manchester, N.H., and Portland, Maine stations will be "really true alternative radio station[s]." The Providence 50,000 watt FM station Stephen Mindich acquired for a song in 2001 will be given its own musical identity but all four stations will broadcast Cruze's morning show.
Dean Johnson in the Boston Herald said "40 percent of the stations' playlist also will include so-called "gold" cuts by Beck, the Clash, Pearl Jam, and others."
"Outside of 'Should I Stay or Should I Go,' where do you hear the Clash anymore?'" Cruze asked. "We're not going to be an oldies station, but wouldn't it be great to hear 'Lost in the Supermarket' or 'Clampdown' as part of the musical landscape of what we do?"And don’t forget "Hitsville UK" either! Good luck Cruze. Here is one listener who will start to tune in again.
Conservatives chicken out of debate with anti-war supporters
For almost 20 years, I have been a fan of talk radio. For awhile, I even had my own weekly talk show, on two very small radio stations. And all during that time, I have heard the same thing from conservative talk hosts. ‘We don’t censor callers,’ they have said. ‘The millions who listen to me, feel the same as me. They even say ‘ditto’ to me, blah, blah, blah.’
Well, I have always known the truth about the conservative talk radio hosts [and NPR, for that matter], and their preference to screen out callers to keep dissenting viewpoints off the air. And now, the truth finally comes out – at the most important time in our history – a time in desperate need of open discussion and dialog.

In a sense, John Mainelli’s NY Post piece says it all today: ["Tough Talkers"].

Rush Limbaugh, chickenhawk, draft-dodger: "I'm not messing with people who want to say this attack is illegal, it's not warranted, it's not justified – I'm not going to argue with you people anymore. Take your propaganda to somebody else who might believe it.”

Don Imus ordered his producer Bernard to steer clear of guests "who come on and whine about how the president failed to explore all diplomatic avenues – just drop it because I'm not interested in having that discussion. We got stabbed in the back by those assholes in France and the rest of them. Enough of Tom Daschle, who is disgraceful, and all the rest – enough of that."

Bob Grant, the racist thug NYC talker: “I'm sick and tired of these left-wing America haters. I don't know who I hate the most: Tom Daschle, Saddam Hussein or Peter Jennings."

Sean Hannity, a constant critic of Clinton’s war actions, is now shocked, shocked that people would now attack his president the same way he attacked Clinton: "I was stunned by Democrats making these partisan attacks on the eve of war – stunned.”

For all their talk about “freedom” and “democracy,” the blowhards on talk radio don’t want to debate or discuss. They want everyone to sit down and shut up. If there was ever a time when competition in talk radio was needed, now is that time.
Surprise - Dow loves the war!:
According to FoxNews, the Dow has jumped 900 points in the last eight days. The Washington Post calls it "best week since 1982." Well, duh. Why do you think "King George" W. is doing this?

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Upchucking for peace in San Fran
Okay, this is just a bit much: ["San Francisco protesters stage a 'vomit in'"].

In a unique form of opposition, some protesters at the Federal Building staged a "vomit in,'' by heaving on the sidewalks and plaza areas in the back and front of the building to show that the war in Iraq made them sick, according to a spokesman.
And in Keene, N.H.:
"... Several of us in Keene (after checking with police first) started drawing chalk body outlines on the sidewalk downtown with accompanying messages like; How many will die? There are now fifty+/- dead bodies lining the sidewalks in downtown Keene. Many of the business owners were not happy that we would display our displeasure at the situation publicly in this manner. One threatened to call the cops. Go right ahead was the answer he received. Another asked us to stop as it was ugly. So is war!!! was what they heard. One city planner tried to use his position to intimidate one girl into stopping. She told him not to go away mad, but do go away. He was not impressed. Oh well !! Unfortunately, the rain will wash the chalk away much easier than the blood. We will gather for a vigil on the square at five. God bless America, We need it now more than ever," - Mark from Hemporium, posted on the N.H. Green Party email list.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Media subservience
Rallies for who?: Clear Channel Worldwide, Inc., the nation's largest owner of radio stations, over 1,200, has been fingered as a sponsor of numerous rallies endorsing Bush's Iraq invasion ["Media Giant’s Rally Sponsorship Raises Questions"] via Common Dreams. The promotions, called "Rally for America," have "raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles."

"I think this is pretty extraordinary. I can’t say that this violates any of the broadcaster’s obligations, but it sounds like borderline manufacturing of the news," said Greg Robinson, a law professor at University of Virginia and former FCC member.
Again, what liberal media? If ABCNBCCBSCNN, etc., pulled a stunt like this, the right wingers would be screaming their heads off about it! Unreal.

On Eric Alterman’s new book "What Liberal Media": ["Alterman in War Paint"]

"The fact that anyone had to write an antidote to the odious liar Ann Coulter (author of "Slander") and the disgruntled former CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg (author of "Bias") is a testament to how far the right wing has gotten in promulgating the fraudulent charge of a liberal bias within the media," – columnist Michelangelo Signorile in the New York Press
Here is Dan Kennedy’s take on the war coverage. ["Into the darkness"]

FAIR on the NYT:

… At the bottom of an inside page in the New York Times, had a different message: "Allies Will Move In, Even if Saddam Hussein Moves Out" was the headline over a page A16 story by Times military correspondent Michael Gordon.

"Even if Saddam Hussein leaves Iraq within 48 hours, as President Bush demanded, allied forces plan to move north into Iraqi territory, American officials said today," the article began.
Gordon pointed to a little-noted line in Bush's speech:

It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
While in the context of the speech, this seemed to refer to what Bush hoped Iraqi commanders would do in the event that his ultimatum was rejected, Gordon reports that this was actually a signal that regardless of what Hussein chooses, the U.S. would still, in Gordon's words,

... enter Iraq to search for hidden weapons of mass destruction and help stabilize the nation so that a new and more democratic regime could take over.
Even if the Iraqi military were to overthrow Hussein, Gordon wrote, "a military intervention seems very likely." He quoted Colin Powell's statement on March 17 to the effect that:
... the only way for Iraq to avoid an attack is for Mr. Hussein to leave the country and 'allow this matter to be resolved through the peaceful entry of force.'
In other words, there is nothing that Iraq can do to avoid invasion and occupation; its only choice is whether or not to surrender. Why dress up this straightforward policy with a claim that Saddam Hussein's refusal to step down within a 48-hour deadline "will result in military conflict"? Presumably because the White House knew that the media would find the drama of the ultimatum irresistible, and would therefore frame the upcoming war not as a choice that Washington was making, but as a final test for Saddam Hussein. Media have by and large failed to challenge this spin campaign, and continue to frame the story as a "defiant" Saddam Hussein spurning the last chance for peace. – "Will the War Begin With a Big Lie?" emailed media advisory from Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.
The invasion begins ...
God help us all. Here is some of the reaction:

"… Today, I weep for my country … No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned. Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination … We proclaim a new doctrine of preemption which is understood by few and feared by many … As a result, the world has become a much more dangerous place," – U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, D-W.V. from the Senate floor this afternoon.

"[People in the Middle East are] going to see hundreds of thousands of refugees, they're going to see civilians and children being killed, they're going to see all kinds of ethnic slaughter in terms of factions taking it out on one another, which they'll blame the United States invasion for … It doesn't take a leap of logic … to conclude that this is going to increase the risk of terrorism to our country. President Bush, by invading Iraq unilaterally, is endangering our country. If Iraq was producing carrots, I don’t think we’d be quite as interested," – Ralph Nader to reporters after a University of South Carolina speech Tuesday night.

"I think unleashing 3,000 smart bombs against the city of Baghdad in the first several days of the war … to me, if those were unleashed against the San Francisco Bay Area, I would call that an act of extreme terrorism. You can't send in 3,000 bombs without some of them going awry, in spite of the military's claims about accuracy. If they get two-thirds accuracy that means that 1,000 bombs will explode [off target] inside a city of 6 million people. To me, that's a terrorist act," – Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. talking to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"And just which companies were given first crack at the post-Hussein spoils? Well, given Team Bush's track record, it will probably not fill you with 'shock and awe' to learn that the common denominator among the chosen few is a proven willingness to make large campaign donations to the Grand Old Party. Among them, the bidders -- a quartet of well-connected corporate consortiums that includes Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp. and, of course, Vice President Dick Cheney's old cronies at Halliburton -- have donated a combined $2.8 million over the last two election cycles, 68% of which went to Republicans. The insider track given these fat-cat donors proves afresh that splurging on a politician is one of the soundest and safest investments you can make. Where else will a $2.8-million ante offer you a shot at raking in a $1.5-billion payoff?" – Arianna Huffington, Los Angeles Times.

"This president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war," – Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., minority leader.

"Senator [Tom] Daschle has spent more time criticizing the leadership of President Bush than he has spent criticizing the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. Those comments may not undermine the president as he leads us into war, and they may not give comfort to our adversaries, but they come mighty close," – Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. and Speaker of the House [a draft-dodging chickenhawk].

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas criticized [Daschle’s] "second-guessing of our commander in chief on the eve of war with Iraq," – Associated Press, Tuesday, March 18.

However …

"The U.S. should not send its troops to Kosovo for a dangerous, open-ended and ill-defined peacemaking mission. The Clinton administration has persistently failed to commit itself to an exit strategy in Bosnia. Similarly, the Kosovo initiative has no timetable, no rules of engagement and no greater strategic plan for the region. Further ill-defined U.S. military involvement in the Balkans is, for many reasons, a risky mistake. The proposed Kosovo mission is much more dangerous than the one in Bosnia. No number of soldiers can keep the peace where none exists," – Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, March 9, 1999, in the Wall Street Journal [another draft-dodging chickenhawk].

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

BBC, 1997 - 'Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline':
Thanks go out to the young woman on MSNBC's "people's debate" tonight suggesting that viewers go to the BBC Web site and look up the article "Taliban in Texas." While doing a search on "BBC, Taliban, Texas," I was able to find this link from Dec. 1997.
I have heard numerous rumors that the whole take over of Afghanistan had something to do with a natural gas pipeline. Some have even suggested that Sept 11 was a set-up, with CIA spooks setting up the whole thing in order to blame it on Al-Quaida, so the military could take over the country and get the pipeline built [I believe this was someone on the site]. But this is the first time I have seen a fuel company [Unocal] linked to the Taliban. The value of the pipeline was reported to be about $2 billion. As well, according to the article, it looks like the Taliban was going to grant the pipeline contract to an Argentinian firm. Hmmm.

Whoever you are young lady, thank you!

Update: There is also a link to a Dec. 14 article "Oil barons court Taliban in Texas" but the link is out of order. Other links include:"The Enron-Cheney-Taliban Connection?" "US inform allies of Afghanistan invasion before Sept. 11"
Nader to Daschle; Pelosi - Speak Out:
Published on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 by

Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 19312
Washington, D.C. 20036

March 18, 2003

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle
SH-509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510-4103
Fax: 202-224-6603

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
2371 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515-0508
Fax: 202-225-8259

Dear Minority Leader Daschle and Minority Leader Pelosi:

President Bush is on the verge of taking the United States into a costly preemptive war, against an enemy widely viewed as posing no imminent or direct threat to our nation or allies, despite the nonviolent alternative of relying on continued and expanded UN-backed inspections. He seems bent on a war, fraught with short- and long-term global risks, without support from long-time international allies, in violation of international law, and without a Congressional declaration of war required by our Constitution.

Moreover, he does so despite the grave dangers his actions provoke -- not just to the children and people of Iraq, who are sure to suffer thousands and perhaps many more deaths, injuries and toxic sickness -- but to the United States and its international standing in world affairs. These include:

* The heightened risk of terrorism on U.S. soil and against U.S. citizens in foreign countries;

* The risk of serious casualties for our soldiers, including toxic illness as in the first Gulf War and, in Mr. Bush's view, possible exposure to chemical and biological weapons for which official U.S. army audits say they are inadequately trained and ill-equipped;

* A draining of the federal budget to pay the enormous costs of war and occupation, at the expense of existing critical domestic and international programs and the daily health and safety of the American people.

* A diversion away from the struggle against stateless terrorism which has concerned many former national security specialists, including General Anthony Zinni and the first President Bush's National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft.

Confronted with a President who has made clear for months an intention to drive his manufactured crisis to war with a surrounded, weakened, watched and inspected Iraqi regime, Congressional Democrats have been divided, and the party leadership has declined to criticize the President directly and on the core issue of the dangerous rush to invasion. Mr. Bush, as a consequence, has had a virtually unrebutted propaganda barrage to the public through the mass media before and after the November 2002 elections.

This must be the first unilateral war in American history driven by a covey of chickenhawks in and around the Presidency and opposed by many ex-military, ex-diplomatic, ex-intelligence leaders who are speaking also for muffled dissenters in the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

Now, in the remaining days before the outbreak of war, is the time for the Democratic Party's leaders to declare that while you of course support the troops and hope to minimize all dangers they face, that you oppose the President's dangerous, illegal and immoral war-invasion and occupation. The nation will surely rally around the troops once hostilities break out, but this war, its Presidential promoter, and especially its festering aftermath will feed public dismay and disillusionment. The citizenry will want to know not just who criticizes the inevitable problems after they emerge, but who had the foresight and courage to identify the risks in advance and counsel a more prudent path in our country's best interests.

I urge you to meet this challenge. Forcefully and clearly declare your opposition to the President's present war path. Not only is it the right course of action, but history, and this nation's citizens, will judge you kindly for offering a more sensible and peaceful alternative: containment, deterrence, UN inspections and doing what the early 2001 Bush administration once favored -- tightening military sanctions while easing the economic sanctions that have caused untold suffering for the Iraqi people.


Ralph Nader

Monday, March 17, 2003

'Of oil and almonds'
More discussion about the post-Saddam Iraq, here by Ruth Rosen of the San Francisco Chronicle:

But it is not only the United States and Great Britain who stand accused of coveting Iraqi oil. Right now, the Turks are poised to fight the Kurds over the oil fields in Northern Iraq.
Extremely good point. Right now, according to ABC News tonight, the two Kurdish factions who have constantly been at odds with each other have decided to join forces to fight the Turks. The Kurds believe the Turks will be invading their territories in Northern Iraq at the first sign of the Americans coming in. The Turks, who reined their own holocaust against the Armenians decades ago, don't want the Kurds to get their own land - or oil fields. Then, there are the Israelis, who have been busy killing Palestinians but are now preparing to retaliate against Iraq - or anyone else - with pre-emptive strikes, to protect themselves. Thank you "King George" W. You have brought us to the brink of World War III!

France, Russia and China also worry that in a post-war Iraq, an American-friendly government would reward U.S. friends -- Exxon Mobil Corp. of Irving, Texas or Royal Dutch/Shell of London -- with lucrative oil contracts. In addition, an interim government will award some $3 billion to $5 billion to the oil-service industry. Among those who have bid for such contracts are Fluor Corp., the Bechtel Group Ind. and Halliburton Co., which Dick Cheney ran before he became vice president. The Pentagon has already awarded the Houston- based company, Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton Co., a multimillion-dollar contract to develop a plan for fire-fighting operations in Iraqi oil fields.
This is the same Bechtel that took over a decade and $15 billion to build the Central Artery Tunnel, otherwise known as the Big Dig, here in Boston. Oh yeah, we definitely want those guys rebuilding Iraq after we get done carpet bombing the desert. The country will never get rebuilt. They are THE LAST people who should be given a contract to do ANYTHING in Iraq. And then there is Halliburton. Gotta love this stuff. War is such good business. Bush's defense contractor friends get billions more for new weapons, and then his friends get to profit from the clean up and rebuild. What an f-ing racket.

You may ask, but isn't disarmament the real goal? Indeed, it is. In a 1998 letter to then-President Bill Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, now the most outspoken hawks in the Bush administration -- wrote that "if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction . . . a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will be put at hazard. The only acceptable strategy is . . . to undertake military action, as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."
Clinton did not follow their advice. But George W. Bush, a Texas oil man whose inner circle has become reckless with dreams of American power, has now made the removal of Hussein the goal of our new pre-emptive war policy.
Again, disarmament isn't the real goal. If it was, we would have never sold those chemical weapons to them in the first place. If disarmament was the "real goal," our government would have ended its weapons exportation program yesterday. It hasn't ended. We are the largest weapons exporter in the world. Again, it is good for business. None of this has anything to do with disarmament. As Michael Moore has said, this is Bush's "weapon of mass distraction."
America regularly vetoes UN resolutions:
Thanks to Gary Hicks for passing on this list of resolutions vetoed by the United States over the last 30 years. Where does our government get off lecturing the Germans, French, and Russians for using their vetoes when they feel like it, when our government has regularly used the veto to stop resolutions?

[NOTE to readers: This list came to us by email, and although we are unsure who collected the information, it appears accurate to us on a quick check. -- ZNet.]

List of resolutions vetoed by the USA 1972 - 2002 (Russia has used their veto TWICE)
1972 Condemns Israel for killing hundreds of people in Syria and Lebanon in air raids.
1973 Afirms the rights of the Palestinians and calls on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.
1976 Condemns Israel for attacking Lebanese civilians.
1976 Condemns Israel for building settlements in the occupied territories.
1976 Calls for self determination for the Palestinians.
1976 Afirms the rights of the Palestinians.
1978 Urges the permanent members (USA, USSR, UK, France, China) to insure United Nations decisions on the maintenance of international peace and security.
1978 Criticises the living conditions of the Palestinians.
1978 Condemns the Israeli human rights record in occupied territories.
1978 Calls for developed countries to increase the quantity and quality of development assistance to underdeveloped countries.
1979 Calls for an end to all military and nuclear collaboration with the apartheid South Africa.
1979 Strengthens the arms embargo against South Africa.
1979 Offers assistance to all the oppressed people of South Africa and their liberation movement.
1979 Concerns negotiations on disarmament and cessation of the nuclear arms race.
1979 Calls for the return of all inhabitants expelled by Israel.
1979 Demands that Israel desist from human rights violations.
1979 Requests a report on the living conditions of Palestinians in occupied Arab countries.
1979 Offers assistance to the Palestinian people.
1979 Discusses sovereignty over national resources in occupied Arab territories.
1979 Calls for protection of developing counties' exports.
1979 Calls for alternative approaches within the United Nations system for improving the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
1979 Opposes support for intervention in the internal or external affairs ofstates.
1979 For a United Nations Conference on Women.
1979 To include Palestinian women in the United Nations Conference on Women.
1979 Safeguards rights of developing countries in multinational trade negotiations.
1980 Requests Israel to return displaced persons.
1980 Condemns Israeli policy regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian people.
1980 Condemns Israeli human rights practices in occupied territories. 3 resolutions.
1980 Afirms the right of self determination for the Palestinians.
1980 Offers assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa and their national liberation movement.
1980 Attempts to establish a New International Economic Order to promote the growth of underdeveloped countries and international economic co-operation.
1980 Endorses the Program of Action for Second Half of United Nations Decade for Women.
1980 Declaration of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.
1980 Emphasises that the development of nations and individuals is a human right.
1980 Calls for the cessation of all nuclear test explosions.
1980 Calls for the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
1981 Promotes co-operative movements in developing countries.
1981 Affirms the right of every state to choose its economic and social system in accord with the will of its people, without outside interference in whatever form it takes.
1981 Condemns activities of foreign economic interests in colonial territories.
1981 Calls for the cessation of all test explosions of nuclear weapons.
1981 Calls for action in support of measures to prevent nuclear war, curb the arms race and promote disarmament.
1981 Urges negotiations on prohibition of chemical and biological weapons.
1981 Declares that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development, etc are human rights.
1981 Condemns South Africa for attacks on neighbouring states, condemns apartheid and attempts to strengthen sanctions. 7 resolutions.
1981 Condemns an attempted coup by South Africa on the Seychelles.
1981 Condemns Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, human rights policies, and the bombing of Iraq. 18 resolutions.
1982 Condemns the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. 6 resolutions (1982 to 1983).
1982 Condemns the shooting of 11 Muslims at a shrine in Jerusalem by an Israeli soldier.
1982 Calls on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights occupied in 1967.
1982 Condemns apartheid and calls for the cessation of economic aid to South Africa. 4 resolutions.
1982 Calls for the setting up of a World Charter for the protection of the ecology.
1982 Sets up a United Nations conference on succession of states in respect to state property, archives and debts.
1982 Nuclear test bans and negotiations and nuclear free outer space. 3 resolutions.
1982 Supports a new world information and communications order.
1982 Prohibition of chemical and bacteriological weapons.
1982 Development of international law.
1982 Protects against products harmful to health and the environment .
1982 Declares that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights.
1982 Protects against products harmful to health and the environment.
1982 Development of the energy resources of developing countries.
1983 Resolutions about apartheid, nuclear arms, economics, and international law. 15 resolutions.
1984 Condemns support of South Africa in its Namibian and other policies.
1984 International action to eliminate apartheid.
1984 Condemns Israel for occupying and attacking southern Lebanon.
1984 Resolutions about apartheid, nuclear arms, economics, and international law. 18 resolutions.
1985 Condemns Israel for occupying and attacking southern Lebanon.
1985 Condemns Israel for using excessive force in the occupied territories.
1985 Resolutions about cooperation, human rights, trade and development. 3 resolutions.
1985 Measures to be taken against Nazi, Fascist and neo-Fascist activities .
1986 Calls on all governments (including the USA) to observe international law.
1986 Imposes economic and military sanctions against South Africa.
1986 Condemns Israel for its actions against Lebanese civilians.
1986 Calls on Israel to respect Muslim holy places.
1986 Condemns Israel for sky-jacking a Libyan airliner.
1986 Resolutions about cooperation, security, human rights, trade, media bias, the environment and development. 8 resolutions.
1987 Calls on Israel to abide by the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the Palestinians.
1987 Calls on Israel to stop deporting Palestinians.
1987 Condemns Israel for its actions in Lebanon. 2 resolutions.
1987 Calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon.
1987 Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
1987 Calls for compliance in the International Court of Justice concerning military and paramilitary activities against Nicaragua and a call to end the trade embargo against Nicaragua. 2 resolutions.
1987 Measures to prevent international terrorism, study the underlying political and economic causes of terrorism, convene a conference to define terrorism and to differentiate it from the struggle of people from national liberation.
1987 Resolutions concerning journalism, international debt and trade. 3 resolutions.
1987 Opposition to the build up of weapons in space.
1987 Opposition to the development of new weapons of mass destruction.
1987 Opposition to nuclear testing. 2 resolutions.
1987 Proposal to set up South Atlantic "Zone of Peace".
1988 Condemns Israeli practices against Palestinians in the occupied territories. 5 resolutions (1988 and 1989).
1989 Condemns USA invasion of Panama.
1989 Condemns USA troops for ransacking the residence of the Nicaraguan ambassador in Panama.
1989 Condemns USA support for the Contra army in Nicaragua.
1989 Condemns illegal USA embargo of Nicaragua.
1989 Opposing the acquisition of territory by force.
1989 Calling for a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on earlier UN resoltions.
1990 To send three UN Security Council observers to the occupied territories.
1995 Afirms that land in East Jerusalem annexed by Israel is occupied territory.
1997 Calls on Israel to cease building settlements in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories. 2 resolutions.
1999 Calls on the USA to end its trade embargo on Cuba. 8 resolutions (1992 to 1999).
2001 To send unarmed monitors to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
2001 To set up the International Criminal Court.
2002 To renew the peace keeping mission in Bosnia.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

The world is not enough:
Sure, this is the title of a pretty good James Bond movie. But, it is becoming clear that world will never be enough for the warmongers. Our nation is on the brink of war with Iraq and finally some of the mainstream press has started to take a look at some of the cronies President George W. Bush has working for him ["The Arrogant Empire"]["Pushing U.S. Toward War"].
It has become very clear that these people do not have America’s best interests in mind. They have been working – planning – scheming – on what some have termed "The New American Century."
In fact, even though he campaigned against former President Bill Clinton’s nation-building policies, Bush has now taken on an even more pervasive nation-building strategy – one that changes regimes and threatens others – based on natural resources and ability to submit to the whims of these planners. For all the criticism of the globalists working for Clinton, Bush's have proven to be far more influential – and far more dangerous.
The world is currently a unipolar system, one where the United States is the only superpower. This fact, however, does not mean we run the world. And neither does the United Nations which has proven to be just as corrupt at almost level as our nation. Where does that leave us? I'm not too sure.

Armageddon – from the mouth of a fish:
Pretty amazing story in the Guardian this morning: ["Word is made flesh as God reveals himself... as a fish"]. Two men hear a fish spouting off "apocalyptic warnings" in Hebrew. Word started to spread throughout the Jewish community and now some "believe the fish’s outburst was a warning about the dangers of the impending war in Iraq. Some say they fear the born-again President Bush believes he is preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ, and war in Iraq is just the opening salvo in the battle of Armageddon."
Canceling primaries?:
The Associated Press is reporting that Republican legislators across the country are looking to scrap 2004 Democratic presidential primaries: ["State Republicans look to scrap presidential primaries"].
Canceling elections sets an extremely bad precedent, especially just to save a few bucks. And it seems to be happening everywhere of late. But if this does occur in extremely important primaries like Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Utah, Democrats can always hold caucuses in these states which would force the candidates to organize at the grassroots level. This will only help Democrats increase voter turnout in the final election.

Update: I forgot to mention earlier that Malden has also voted to cancel its 2003 City Council primary. By a vote of 7 to 3, the City Council approved a measure that would eliminate the city election primary, as reported in the March 7 edition of The Malden Advocate. The approval needs to be okayed by the Mass. Legislature. The city expects to save $30,000.
The John Kerry Follies, Part 2 ...:
Well, Kerry was the story at the St. Patrick's Day parade ... Not just because he was the butt of most of the jokes, but he actually showed up!

Saturday, March 15, 2003

The John Kerry Follies …
Massachusetts' junior senator has decided to blow off tomorrow’s South Boston St. Patrick’s Day breakfast roast [“Kerry's Southie snub no lucky charm”]. He needs time to heal from his recent prostate cancer operation. However, the healing process won’t keep Kerry from a St. Patrick’s Day event in Manchester this week and it didn’t stop Kerry from jaunting to California to pick up $900,000 in campaign contributions or hobnob with the elite party faithful on Friday [“Kerry courts California boosted by polls, minus computer”]. But who cares in the scheme of things when you have a significant lead on your rivals in the NH primary prize: [“Kerry is favorite, poll shows”]. And let's not forget the latest gossip about Chris Lehane's lost computer and the supposed lack of a southern strategy: ["John Kerry to South: Drop Dead"].

Al Gore proved that you can win the election without a single Southern state, if he'd only won New Hampshire,' Kerry told a group of San Francisco supporters.
Oh John, don't start this. It isn't going to work. Any political idiot knows that you have to win at least something in the south. And the only way the Democrats can do that is if they start talking about the issues that are important to the working class people who voted for Bush. It really is that simple. But Kerry – a corporate Democrat who can’t challenge Bush on any of the working class issues – is going to have a hard time getting these voters to identify with his voting record. Wayne Woodlief’s Boston Herald piece on Kerry pretty much nails it down. Why blow off the breakfast? Did they cut Kerry’s stones off too? If you can’t handle the criticism of your local brethren, what are you going to do when you have to face the DC press corps at their roasting dinner during your first term? However, Kerry’s absence almost guarantees that the Southie breakfast will be a grand old time. In the past, the coverage has always been very homemade, beginning on spotty cable access and then upgrading slightly to NECN. This year, thankfully, the WB56’s Jon Keller is in control. The roast will be broadcast Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Israel and Iraq, Part 2:
I happened to be watching "Real Time with Bill Mahr" on HBO tonight [with Arianna Huffington, Dennis Miller, and right-wing blondress Monica Crowley] when a person emailed in a very relevant point, paraphrasing: Israel has violated UN resolutions on a regular basis and they also have weapons of mass destruction. How come the United States isn't invading Israel?
It is an interesting point. And you could take it one step further. Israel has been killing Palestinians but Saddam hasn't killed anyone – lately. Of course, Saddam did kill Kurds – with chemical weapons he got from us. And he did kill Kuwaitis – after getting the green light from our Ambassador that we wouldn’t get involved in Saddam’s “border disputes.” But he hasn’t done anything in years whereas Israel has been relentlessly bombing Palestinian neighborhoods granted, in retaliation for terrorist strikes against civilian and military targets, which happen because Israel is killing civilians. So, why aren’t we invading Israel again?

Israel and Iraq, Part 1:
Leave it to "Peacenik Pat" Buchanan to really nail down some serious points about this war: ["Whose war?"].

Friday, March 14, 2003

Red Alert for Bill of Rights, Part 1:
Nat Hentoff has a great piece in The Village Voice about the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 ["Red Alert for Bill of Rights!"].

Here is my take on the bill from The Winchester Star this week:
Editorial: Not the American way

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans have had to grasp the knowledge that our citizens, shores, and flight patterns are no longer as safe as they once were. But at the same time that we cope with the events of that horrifying day, we must also not forget how our nation differs from those we are fighting against.

Take the recent capture of alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaik Mohammed — a great victory, proving that our government should continue to concentrate on the pursuit of Osama bin Laden and Al-Quida, and not get distracted with an invasion of Iraq. Mohammed’s capture has led to widespread calls for him to be tortured until he tells our military what we want to know. Official policies — not to mention international treaties — prohibit torture. As well, the act of torturing is not how a civilized society should be treating criminals we have arrested. It is not the American way.

Since the passage of The USA PATRIOT Act, the citizens of our nation are starting to find out what exactly was in this document and how it will effect our nation in the future even though most elected officials did not read the document before they voted on it.

Recently, public libraries and bookstores across the nation have begun posting notices warning their patrons that the law, "prohibits workers from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you." Unlike traditional search warrants, federal agents no longer have to show that people are suspected of crimes or possess evidence of a crime. This is not the American way.

According to published reports, passengers on airlines will now be subject to sweeping background checks, including criminal records and credit checks, before being able to purchase a plane ticket. Why does the federal government need to know about your credit rating? Again, this is not the American way.

Now, the Bush Administration is presenting an updated version of The PATRIOT Act, entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act. If passed, this law will grant even broader spying power capabilities to federal agencies on Americans.

These acts by those who say they are trying to preserve "freedom" are in fact decimating the rights endowed by our creator as Americans. This is not the American way.
Ari & I:

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Russell Mokhiber: Richard N. Perle is the chairman of the Defense Policy Board and a leading public advocate for war on Iraq. In the New Yorker magazine this week, Seymour Hersh reports that Perle is also managing partner in a venture capital company, Trireme Partners, that is positioned to profit from a war with Iraq. The federal Code of Conduct, which governs Perle in this matter, prohibits conflicts of interest. Henry Kissinger resigned from the 911 commission because of similar business conflicts. When asked on Sunday by Wolf Blitzer about the New Yorker article, Perle called Hersh "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist." Two questions. Given Perle's conflict of interest, and given the widespread public belief that this war is being driven by corporate interests -- war for oil, war for defense contracts, war for construction contracts -- does the President believe -

Ari Fleischer: Whose informed judgement is that?

Mokhiber: Widespread public belief.

Fleischer: Widespread?

Mokhiber: Yes, widespread.

Fleischer: Widespread, or just that chair?

Mokhiber: No, widespread. Does the President believe that Richard Perle should resign from the Defense Policy Board? And the second question, do you agree with Richard Perle that Hersh is "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."

Fleischer: Russell, there is absolutely no basis to your own individual and personal statement about what may lead to war. If anything leads to it is the fact that Saddam Hussein has refused to disarm. And I think you do an injustice to people, no matter what their background, if you believe that people believe that Saddam Hussein should be disarmed for any reason that suggests personal profit.

Mokhiber: What about the question Ari? Should he resign - and is he a terrorist?

Fleischer: Russell, you have made your speech.

Mokhiber: You didn't answer the question.

Fleischer: You have made your speech.
Shut up Bubba!
It was only a matter of time before former President Bill Clinton started taking shots at President George W. Bush. The NY Daily News is reporting that Clinton “drew standing ovations” for criticizing Bush ["Bill blasts 'political mess' by W"] . Clinton called Bush’s tax cut “wrongheaded” and reportedly said:
We need to be creating a world that we would like to live in when we're not the biggest power on the block.
Ugh. Bubba, you are correct, to a point. “King George” W. is totally out of control. And frankly, if I had my choice between a predator-in-chief like you and the power mad W., I would pick Ralph Nader. But the economy started its downward trend during your last term and the collapse of the “dot-cons.” You and your greedy Wall Street swindlers have as much to do with the current state of the economy as Bush and his craven oil barons.
However, the larger point is this: Please just go away! You have done enough already.
And what is this crack about someday being the only superpower? If and when we are no longer the only superpower, we will only have you to blame. You gave away the store – secret technology, trade incentives, encouraging factories to bolt to the slave wages of China, decimating our economy … to the communist Chinese government? Disgusting. Some day, our soldiers will be at war with the Chinese – over Taiwan or some other Asian excursion – and you will to be to blame for every soldier’s death. We will never forget what you did.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

MTV blocks anti-war ad:
The NYT reports today that MTV has refused to accept a commercial opposing a war in Iraq, citing a policy against advocacy spots that it says protects the channel from having to run ads from any cash-rich interest group whose cause may be loathsome ["MTV Refuses Antiwar Commercial "] via Nonetheless, viewers in New York and Los Angeles will be able to see the rejected spot from Not in Our Name starting today on MTV's "Total Request Live" and "Direct Effect," because its backers did an end-run around the channel by buying time on local cable providers.
Amazing. First, I am surprised that Comcast and Time Warner sold the ads to the group since ATT has previously refused to air anti-war advertising. I guess Comcast's billions in debt have made them think a little more clearly about accepting the ads. But, there is a larger problem. Here is a network, MTV, that has almost single-handedly destroyed the music industry. They also accept a blizzard of advertising for all kinds of useless commercial products yet won't accept a commercial which attempts to address some of the feelings teenagers – their main demographic – have about the upcoming war? Maybe MTV should be broadcasting some programming that might help teenagers deal with what is going to be a very difficult time. Or, they could go back to playing music videos which might be nice too.
Conyers, others contemplate impeachment of Bush:
Roll Call is reporting this morning that ranking Democratic House Judiciary committee member John Conyers assembled more than two dozen prominent liberal attorneys and scholars [including former AG Ramsey Clark] earlier this week, to mull over articles of impeachment against President George Bush seeking to block military action against Saddam Hussein ["Time To Impeach?"].
Well, if former predator-in-chief Clinton could get impeached for basically lying about blowjobs, then "King George" W. should surely be considered for an unconstitutional war action against Iraq.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Pirozzi - 'It's not true'
Iowa Kerry operative and Belmont native Angelique Pirozzi has denied reports in last Sunday's Boston Herald that she is upset about her role in the campaign. Responding to an email this afternoon, this is what she had to say:
Yeah, I got wacked all right. No, it's not true. I am the only person in the Kerry operation that has any recent Iowa Caucus experience and it just makes sense that I go...I am actually really excited about John Kerry in Iowa. He's doing really well there. I will be serving as the Caucus Director for John Kerry in charge of the caucus program which is a significant role in the nominating process. Never thought I'd go anywhere else......
While she wouldn't comment on who would say such nasty and untrue things about her to the newspaper, Pirozzi has an idea who it might have been. But, the cheap shot hasn't bummed her out at all. In fact, she was able to see a little humor in the whole thing:
As Oscar Wilde said, 'The only thing worse than being gossiped about is not being talked about at all.'