economics

Yes, Virginia, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is about oil

Posted by on Dec 23, 2008 | 0 comments

The Jakeneck Archives. An oldie but goodie from June 12, 2003:

The problem with public relations spin, deception and lying is it will come back to haunt. You’d think that the Bush White House would have learned that lesson from the Clinton experience. But, no.

In the spirit of “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.“, the current administration has worked assiduously at priming the public relations pump, spreading the word, insisting that the once over and now continuing war against Iraq is not about oil. The sound bite rhetoric is familiar to us all: “This is not about oil. This is about a tyrant, a dictator, who is developing weapons of mass destruction to use against the Arab populations.”

The problem is twofold: 1) the intelligence used in the failed attempt to convince the world that Iraq had viable WMD’s is suspect, the search effort is slowing down, and all of this is creating great trouble for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 2) The truth is hard to ignore. Statistics are brutal in their logic. The economic/oil situation is not a constant one at all. It is in flux. And, at risk.

The fact that it was always about oil is becoming much more clear. Especially since members of the Bush administration and advisors own words regarding Iraq and Hussein don’t shy away from mentioning oil as a primary concern. As stated in a “Letter to the President” dated January 26, 1998, signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and several others: “It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard.” (Italics mine.)

That seems pretty clear doesn’t it? But, the massive PR push the past few years had a very specific task- to convince the populace both in the US and abroad that the war was over more palatable issues- terrorism, human rights, spreading democracy. Things that make us feel good about invading another country. Anything except oil. Because, there is always the great possibility that, as stated in “The Trouble with Powell“: “the American people do not want their young dying for $ 1.50 a gallon oil.” But, deception is deception. And, it would appear at this juncture that it may have gotten out of control. And, investigations on the WMD problem are coming. Even if the Bush White House and Republicans don’t want it.

Which begs the question: Would they investigate the possibility of cooked Intel if the WMD’s were wearing a blue dress? That old double standard is a drag, isn’t it?

Yes it is.

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the web and the city

Posted by on Oct 18, 2008 | 0 comments

With the changing economic climate and a real need for new structure and paradigms, been thinking a great deal about how we can change how the world works. And, living in a city like NYC, a lot of what I see that works (and what doesn’t work) needs to be extrapolated (and dealt with realistically) into the world at large. And, the web works in great ways (and not so great ways)… Steven Johnson talks about both and more from TED.

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drilling down

Posted by on Sep 19, 2008 | 0 comments

Jon Stewart… video.

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webuzz: obama, eco news and more….

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 1 comment

  • Obama is going to announce his VP choice soon, if you believe what you read. My guess is it’s going to be someone not on the “short list” we’ve been hearing so much about from the media. But, everyone’s buzzing like bees to honey. The gossip quotiant is stifling.
  • Ever heard of triclosan? Well, it’s in a ton of things that may be in your body or in your home or both. And, it’s a toxin. Go read about it over at Eco-Chick.
  • Obama stepped in the eliminationalist trap.
  • The decay of the free thinking press in the land of the free.
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    the mighty right wing machine rattles on and on

    Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

    The other day on Hardball on MSNBC, an interesting moment occurred.

    Chris Matthews and guests Howard Fineman and Andrea Mitchell started out discussing Obama’s looming VP choice, the various “front runners” on the “short list” (a completely made up list by the media, since no one has a clue, but they make it sound like they do.) and then they switched to discussing McCain’s choices for VP, (which they are equally as clueless about) in particular Joe Leiberman. It went like this:

    FINEMAN: Well, I don‘t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn‘t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him. The same with Sean Hannity. But they…

    MITCHELL: They wouldn‘t take him. They‘ve already said (INAUDIBLE)

    FINEMAN: They said they wouldn‘t take him…

    It’s an extraordinary admission that went entirely overlooked. Here are three major media players discussing how conservative media pundits have a powerful role in choosing who will be the Republican choice for VP. The equivalent simply does not exist on the Liberal side. Which Liberal media pundit has that much power? None. An important point to remember in these times.

    One of the basic tenets of the modern conservative movement is a hatred for the “mainstream media”. The “conservative wisdom” is that it’s riddled with Liberals and that Liberals control it. Far from the truth obviously.

    Yet, by their own logic, Limbaugh is the enemy, since he is a member of the mainstream media who literally has a role in controlling our lives and our government functions. Yet, they don’t seem to mind. It’s about ideology of course. It has nothing to do with the higher ideals of democracy and freedom of the press and everything to do with limiting the message to only those ideals they profess, limiting it to conservative ideas. It’s basic fascism and eliminationism.

    And, seeing it referred to in such a blase manner on Hardball was shocking to say the least.

    When I was a boy, I would read about how military and press people had control of the process of government in the Soviet Union, and it sent a cold, rippling shiver down my spine that I always remembered.

    That feeling has returned.

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    games cheney plays

    Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 | 0 comments

    Billmon (of Whiskey Bar fame) has been posting a little over at Daily Kos. (After a long hiatus from his own blog.)

    His latest is on the conflict between Russia and Georgia and the US role in it… It’s fascinating reading…

    The conflict caught many by surprise, but it’s been a “diplomatic” initiative for the Cheney Boys for awhile… These tools see all conflicts in the world as a opportunity to make money and increase US power. Nothing else matters. And, we are all pawns who will end up paying the price for their arrogance and short-sightedenss. This paragraph sums it up:

    If you caught Andrew Bacevich on Bill Moyer’s show the other night, you may have noticed that his biggest complaint was not that US foreign policy is misguided and destructive (although he clearly thinks it’s both) but that it is being conducted in a democratic vacuum — despite all the florid rhetoric about promoting democracy. We may still go through the motions of a republican form of government, Bacevich says, but the fabric has gotten pretty thin: or, in the case of our national revival of the Great Game in the Caucasus, damned near invisible.

    Read the entire thing. It’s where we are in the US now, and a bit of where we are going right before our eyes…

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    mccain obama and the 800 pound gorilla

    Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 | 0 comments

  • It’s rather interesting that David Gergen seems ready to proclaim John McCain president after a single joint appearance in what most observers admit was a decidedly pro-McCain venue and host. Forget the controversy… Just remember every two bit pundit in the media sphere wants to anoint the president, be it Obama or McCain. None of them have a clue.
  • If ever there was a shining turd of an example of why the entire world and a good portion of the US public think the president and his administration (which we put into power not once but twice) are morons, here’s a good one.

    Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used, that will make it – that – when it wishes to deliver a message, and that’s its military power. That’s not the way to deal in the 21st century.

    Now that you’ve closed your mouth to stop your chin from hitting the ground…. An intelligent adult is left with only one of two conclusions: either Sec. Rice is an idiot or she’s so audaciously arrogant to think that we are idiots. Either way, it’s pathetic to a degree that just makes me cringe. They are such complete amateurs. It’s embarrassing.

    And, Iraq and Afghanistan rage on…. because extremists are in power here as they are in Russia.

    Lest we forget that the current president called the Russian leader “Putty Put” and looked into his soul and trusted him. What a clown.

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    Send Karl Rove to jail

    Posted by on Jul 19, 2008 | 0 comments

    Watch the video and sign the petition.

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    I Met the Walrus

    Posted by on Jul 16, 2008 | 0 comments

    Amazing how something forty-years old is completely relevant today. An interesting recorded interview with John Lennon made into a short film. (c/o Jenny Eliscu)

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    watching liberty go down the drain: FISA, Rove….

    Posted by on Jul 14, 2008 | 2 comments

    This observer has no doubt that when that great foretold moment comes when the American citizenry willfully gives up it’s basic liberties, say, o I don’t know, the Fourth Amendment, that many will sit and watch it happen on their televisions as if it was just one more entertainment event. Most won’t realize it has occurred at all. Some of us have noticed though. A sitting President has committed a felony and no one cares.

    What separates the idea of a proper democracy from the rabble is one simple thing: the rule of law. The simple idea that everyone is equal and must answer to the laws of the land if they violate those laws or are accused of violating those laws. They must deal with the system and the laws whether they are guilty or innocent. The system and the people will decide. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it is what we have. And, it’s the lynch pin of law and order in our society. It is also that which keeps the select few from attaining power that is unresponsive to the will of the people and the rule of law. It’s the lynch pin to checks and balances.

    So, what happens when people refute the overriding principle that everyone must be subject to equal protection and application of those laws? We literally become that which those who established our Constitutional form of government were fleeing from and refuting. The founders were reacting specifically to the practice within a monarchy of unequal protection under the law, that is: some were able to skirt laws and oversight and the will of the people by being above the law or protected by the monarchy, who were entirely above the law.

    Of course, any honest observer knows fully well that the USA has not been a proper democracy for decades and functions today as a plutocracy. We are becoming that which the founders feared.

    And, it shall not stand.

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    bush a liar or incompetent

    Posted by on Jun 17, 2008 | 0 comments

    In the LA Times, James Kirchick writes that Bush didn’t lie about the run up to war. He was simply given bad intelligence. So, Bush wasn’t lying, he was incompetent? Personally, I think it was both.

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    the dubya syndrome

    Posted by on Jun 8, 2008 | 0 comments

    this sign is now posted on a good deal of the construction sites on the upper east side. after the recent spate of crane collapses and tragic and very likely preventable deaths, the sign gave me pause to think.

    first, it’s a bit too close to closing the barn door after the cow is gone to my mind. but, it also alarms me. who really thinks a sign will help fix the problem? also, the point of the sign~to quell those who would think they can get by if they have a good alibi~ filled me with sorrow. what is going on? have we fallen that low in this country that it is assumed that fuck ups are acceptable? on a construction site where lives are at risk? and the alibi thing… wow. just. wow. it’s one thing when the guy who bags the groceries at the store is thinking of alibi’s about mess ups. but, on a construction site? I understand that accidents happen, but they should be rare and unacceptable in these environments. the existence of an “alibi culture” in this country is killing us.

    more dubya syndrome. the bar is so low, we don’t expect much. even the president of the most powerful nation in the world is a fuck up with lots of alibis.

    don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters…

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    McClellan: How I Was Disillusioned

    Posted by on May 30, 2008 | 0 comments

    Speaks for itself:

    What we are seeing is a man with a conscience revolting against the tyranny he witnessed and took part in.

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    thugs in the white house

    Posted by on May 29, 2008 | 2 comments

    Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Matt Drudge has had “Scott the Snitch” on his propaganda site all day, an attempt to paint former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who has a new book coming out that is not kind to his former employer, as a turncoat. It’s rather interesting for a couple of reasons.

    The word “snitch” is a pejorative that means “informant”, and in it’s most popular usage is associated with criminals and mobsters who break with their masters and turn. So, in a sense, Drudge is implying that the White House is mob like. It’s an appellation that isn’t really used in any other context other than refering to informing on others where a crime has been committed to denigrate that person. The appropriate term here would be “whistle blower”. But that doesn’t serve Drudge nor his masters.

    And, of course, the White House are following the party attack line, calling McClellan “disgruntled“, or “out of the loop” or insert ad hominem here. No doubt he’ll be “insane” by the end of the media cycle. Look for the Freepers and extremist wing nut blogs to fill that hole with bile.

    Keep in mind, the only news here is that it’s a former loyalist saying that the Bush White House chose propaganda over policy. We’ve heard this accusation before. The propaganda over policy issue, and why is was implemented, was a topic on this blog nearly FOUR YEARS AGO, and the facts bare this out. It was an attempt to polarize the public with fear and solidify and maintain power in that manner.

    Ultimately, history will tell the story of whether George W. Bush was simply over his head, or a willing puppet who stood by playing golf and spouting propaganda while Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld implemented disastrous policy. Personally, I think Dubya is an ideological tool of Cheney. Not smart enough to engage policy in any meaningful manner, he simply agrees with whatever Dick says and catapults the propaganda like a good doggy.

    Not a bad job if you can get it. Alas, the real world is a bit more serious than this piss ant approach to to governing and policy. And, we will pay the price for the insipid, emotional playground politics of this White House.

    We already are.

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    "in the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

    Posted by on May 2, 2008 | 0 comments

    Remember those words above, spoken by George W. Bush, on May 1, 2003.

    What does his paid lap dog PR person have to say about the “mission accomplished” debacle?

    “President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said `mission accomplished’ for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday. “And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.”

    Ah, yes. The banner was not specific enough. Of course, the preznit still said: “in the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” So, I guess it’s safe to assume that the preznit’s PR dupe is either an idiot or a liar or both.

    Well, let’s look at the specific facts and see how accomplished this mission has been. (Courtesy of Iraq Campaign)

    The Cost of War Since ‘Mission Accomplished’— May 1, 2003 — April 24, 2008

    US TROOPS KILLED IN IRAQ ————————- 139 ————- 4,051
    (as of 4/21/08)

    US TROOPS WOUNDED IN IRAQ ——————–524 ————- 29,780
    (as of 4/15/08)

    IRAQI CIVILIANS KILLED IN THE WAR ———– N/A ———— 150,000
    (World Health Organization)

    RAQI CIVILIANS FORCED FROM THEIR HOMESN/A ——- 4.7 mil
    (United Nations)

    US TROOPS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ —————– 150,000 —–155,000
    (Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)

    FOREIGN TROOPS IN
    “COALITION OF THE WILLING”
    —————— 23,000 —– 9,852
    (Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)

    TOTAL DIRECT COST —————————– $53 bil —– $525.9 bil
    (Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)

    IMPACT OF THE WAR
    ON THE US ECONOMY
    —————————– N/A ——– $1.3 tril
    (Congressional Joint Economic Committee Report)

    COST OF IRAQ WAR TO THE AVERAGE
    AMERICAN FAMILY
    ——————————– N/A ——– $16,500
    (Congressional Joint Economic Committee Report)

    AMERICANS WHO APPROVE OF BUSH’S
    HANDLING OF THE IRAQ WAR
    —————-72% ———— 33%

    PRICE OF OIL ————————————–$26 / bbl ——$119 / bbl
    (Department of Energy)

    Nuff said.

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