policy

what would lester say?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2008 | 0 comments

  • Richard Hell writes about Lester Bangs. Stuff to keep the sanity fire burning.
  • Bush says “Fuck Sadaam!“, starts a war, destroys a country, people die, the world doesn’t like it, and five years later Bush says he regrets that people don’t understand him and mistakenly think he was a “guy really anxious for war”. You can’t make this shit up.
  • Five years after the fact the media tries to come to terms with it’s complicity in the deceptive run up to war in Iraq while another run up to a war with Iran, also ignored by the media, gets traction for reasons created by those who want perpetual war. Nice job if you can get it.
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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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    meet the new boss, same as the old boss

    Posted by on Apr 20, 2008 | 0 comments

    The New York Times has come out with a really good article with supporting video that looks at how the Pentagon manipulates news and information to their advantage, and did so during the revolt of several generals. This is a continuation of a a pretty important issue that I’ve written about in the past:

    “The BBC has a report on the “Information Operations Roadmap” which…

    …calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military’s ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.

    Here’s a PDF of it. Read it for yourself. This is part of the Rumsfeld plan to control information, as David Miller put it:

    The concept of ‘information dominance’ is the key to understanding US and UK propaganda strategy and a central component of the US aim of ‘total spectrum dominance’. It redefines our notions of spin and propaganda and the role of the media in capitalist society. To say that it is about total propaganda control is to force the English language into contortions that the term propaganda simply cannot handle. Information dominance is not about the success of propaganda in the conventional sense with which we are all familiar. It is not about all those phrases ‘winning hearts and minds’, about truth being ‘the first casualty’ about ‘media manipulation’ about ‘opinion control’ or about ‘information war’. Or, to be more exact – it is about these things but none of them can quite stretch to accommodate the integrated conception of media and communication encapsulated in the phrase information dominance. […]

    Traditional conceptions of propaganda involve crafting the message and distributing it via government media or independent news media. Current conceptions of information war go much further and incorporate the gathering, processing and deployment of information including via computers, intelligence and military information (command and control) systems. The key preoccupation for the military is ‘interoperability’ where information systems talk to and work with each other. Interoperability is a result of the computer revolution which has led to the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. Now propaganda and psychological operations are simply part of a larger information armoury.

    Such is the state of affairs in a country run by the war business. Truth is the first casualty.

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    A taste for torture

    Posted by on Apr 17, 2008 | 0 comments

    The simple fact of the matter is: we are better than torture. We are, or at least we once were… The country that held the moral high ground during the Nuremburg trials would not condone torture of enemies. Torture was the tactic of savages, of the evil Japanese Empire, the Nazi’s, the Soviets, the Red Army, the Khymer Rouge…

    Not the USA.

    Robert Greenwald has a new video, which is directly below.

    Digby is keeping this issue on the fire, by posting some posts from the past. Here’s one that I wrote two and a half years ago as well.

    Hot topic at: Empty Wheel, and Think Progress, and Open Left and Attytood.

    This shall not stand. Our failure of a president supports torture. We do not. Write to your local press or nearest media outlet and let them know.

    Then, get thee over to Condi Must Go and sign the petition.

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    war made easy… but you pay the price

    Posted by on Apr 11, 2008 | 0 comments

    Ralph Bernardo of Disinformation posted this trailer clip for “War Made Easy” and thought it worth sharing:

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    the story of stuff

    Posted by on Mar 26, 2008 | 0 comments

    I’d seen this posted all over, so here it is here. The Story of Stuff… Here’s the trailer, and go watch the whole thing… it’s an eye opener.

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    Stagecrafting the War

    Posted by on Mar 26, 2008 | 0 comments

    Listen:

    (Source)

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    Cheney and the Iraq Energy Task Force…

    Posted by on Feb 23, 2008 | 0 comments

    …the weed that won’t die. Jon Taplin gets down to brass tacks. (via Boing Boing)

    There is obviously something to this… Not like it’s a state secret that the US needs and wants Iraqi oil. It really says a great deal about conservatives and others who have never really been able to readily admit that the entire reason the US is even involved in the Middle East or Iraq or Afghanistan is oil.

    Personally, I’d have a lot more respect for all the keyboard commando’s and the chicken hawks if they simply admitted this fact outright. But, they do not, as if doing so will cross some line in the sand where only real and evil fascists go, a line they’ve already crossed anyway.

    This is why they spend so much time trying to convince the world that it’s the other side that are the fascists. Sad.

    And, lest we forget, Cheney’s planning to invade Iraq prior to 9/11 is one of the numerous points listed in Bruce Fein’s well thought out article on impeachment of the Administration for violations on a number of levels.

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    fog of war redux

    Posted by on Feb 4, 2008 | 0 comments

    Be sure to click on the featured video on the upper right. It’s a clip from Errol Morris‘ film “The Fog of War” featuring Robert McNamara going over the finer points of waging war on a foreign people, and interestingly, points which were pretty much ignored/forgotten/unknown /not applied to the run up to the current war in Iraq.

    And, people doubt that we evolved from monkeys. Here’s your proof.

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    make that monkey tail twitch

    Posted by on Jan 19, 2008 | 0 comments

    Paranoia is meant to be managed, and knowledge helps maintain a healthy perspective on paranoia inducing information…. some links to kick start your heart this cold day.

  • Facebook’s onwers aren’t necessarily who you think. My feeling on this is simple: I don’t care who knows what I think. It’s out there. But, personal information should be personal, so be careful what information you make available. Common sense.
  • The corporation that can monitor peoples biological and emotional responses for it’s own use is the stuff of science fiction, or is it?
  • Not that any thinking person needs to have further evidence that Jonah Goldberg is a twit, (old news) but Dave Niewert does a fine job of making that point whilst also educating about Leo Frank. A must read. Read More
  • just because you’re paranoid….

    Posted by on Jan 3, 2008 | 0 comments

    Privacy International conducted a survey of the top surveillance societies in the EU and the World, and guess who ranked at the top as “endemic”?

    Russia, China and the United States.

    Woohoo! At least we’re good at something.

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    apathy kills and money rules

    Posted by on Nov 20, 2007 | 0 comments

  • Be sure to watch the new featured video in the upper right hand corner. (c/o Noelle Belle at Crooks and Liars) If you can’t see the video, that probably means you are using an old version of Internet Explorer, and you should be using Firefox anyway!
  • A new study finds that the US prison system is a “costly failure” – not a deterrent to crime and a black hole that sucks taxpayers money – but that reality is most definitely secondary, since prisons are one of the great corporate growth industries, both in the US and Iraq. It’s the wild wild west, and law and order lay in the hands of those with the most guns. Read More
  • the american dream state

    Posted by on Nov 7, 2007 | 0 comments

    There was a time when we could do anything. Walking on the moon wasn’t a fantasy, it was a reality. Alas, the past seven years we’ve seen the bar lowered by a two term Bush White House compliant to politics and arrogance rather than the difficult choices and compromises that foster real solutions. The result has been the acquiescence of a stronger, more confident American policy and popular consensus of the role of America, both here and abroad. This malaise in leadership nurtures a perception amongst the domestic and global populace that expects nothing more than the usual level of brilliant incompetence. “Our leadership is incapable of anything more” is the general common belief, our leaders aim to please.

    Expectations are so low that when an inferior candidate for placement as the top cop in the land is presented, the general response from our leaders is “we can’t expect to do any better, so this will have to do.” Logic has been turned on it’s head. We settle for less, because shooting for better isn’t a an option any more. Better is the new bad. Up is down, down is up. Torture isn’t torture (because they say so and it’s something they truly believe in) when to any sane person, waterboarding is clearly torture.

    In the real world, whilst American’s argue about whether the so-called surge in Iraq is working or not working, those human beings whose lives are hanging by a thread because of the war in Iraq and the destabilization of the entire Middle East are experiencing a reality that has nothing to do with the politics of how the US military campaign is perceived or even whether the surge is a success or a failure and everything to do with staying alive. The contrast is striking, and embarrassing.

    And, it is costing us dearly. Not to mention the higher cost on the ground in Iraq. Which is the reality check.

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    conspiracy theory of the day: north american union

    Posted by on Oct 31, 2007 | 0 comments

    Watch the video, my comments are below. (hat tip: bizbuzz)


    Been reading about the North American Union for awhile, and the new currency the “Amero”, it’s been on television, on Lou Dobbs and elsewhere. And, as the dollar slides into oblivion, it seems more and more plausible, and the appearance of a dastardly plan seems more and more obvious at first glance. But, there are other things to consider. If it uses fear to motivate, then beware.

    First of all, I have strong opinions on unified conspiracy theories, which the video proffers. It assumes that there is a group of rich people sitting in a room, who are connected in some way, who share holiday meals together or go to the same church or to the same club, who are all colluding towards a “one world government” and doing all these things behind the scenes to end our lives of liberty, control us all and keep us happy with reruns of American Idol and truck loads of Twinkies. And, it doesn’t work like that. It’s more about social movements and media than about conspiring in groups.

    Endeavors such as the NAU function like a movement, a mob of like minded people who are working towards common goals, in this case the creation of a unified finacial system. (Whether you agree with the concept of a unified world financial system or not is up for debate.) It works more like how people decide all at once to start using the internet, or go to YouTube. One person to one person and on and on. Like a mob. That’s how the one world government thing is working. Like a focused flash mob. Because that is how media and the transference of ideas works, and the NAU is an idea, while it isn’t being promoted via the mass media, is still a form of media, an idea, that is conveyed from person to person, and has a genesis that goes back to World War 1. It is primarily a financial movement, not a political one. The two are intertwined by their incestuous relationship, there is no doubt. Which is a very important distinction.
    The banking movement has always been more of a mob than a group of white guys sitting in a room smoking Cubans and having sex with underage homeless teens while carving up the roles of the workers and deciding how to spend the workers pensions.

    Look at how the EU went down over the course of three decades. It was a movement, but it was primarily financial. It was all about establishing the Euro in member countries.. And, where was all the totalitarianism that the unified conspiracy theorists predicted would occur when the EU was instituted? Where is it? Did the constitutions of nations fall because of it? Did the people of Europe lose their liberties because of the establishment of the EU? No. They didn’t.

    The NAU, like the EU, is essentially solidifying financial arrangements that already exist anyway. It’s making them official and sanctioned by a government, in this case one it creates itself, which gives it the ability to establish legal sovereignty and thus protection under certain international laws.

    But, the ratification of new constitutions which would override established constitutions and thereby scuttle the rights of the people is not something easily done. Look at what happened with the attempted ratification of the EU constitution. It failed because so many nations felt it infringed (either too liberal or too conservatively) upon their national sovereignty and constitutional independence and the rights of the people. Another mob arose to confront the first mob. And, they did battle. It’s a form of democracy, open source, and sometimes unruly.

    The video above dives into the paranoid fantasy that there is a group of privileged people in a dark smoky room that has decided to scuttle the US constitution and bill of rights (which is being hammered at by the Bush Administration anyway) and it’s a done deal. And, the reality is: like what occurred in the EU, the scuttling of the US Constitution is an event that would require more than the establishment of the NAU and a new currency. It’s tacit fear mongering in the video. It’s propaganda meant to use fear as it’s primary tool of conversion of thought. It’s a media virus meant to scare.

    Fear is a powerful force used to propel emotional reactions in favor of intellectual ideas. Fear alters the media landscape in ways that aren’t apparent to those who watch media without
    a critical eye. Fear fosters an emotional response first and foremost and that means that any real consideration of the issues involved – from the presentation of the propaganda (what’s it’s primary motivation? are the facts correct? is it presented in a logical manner or a fallacious manner?) to the discussion and debate of the ideas within- is left forgotten in the dust of the initial emotional reaction.
    That’s the primary function of propaganda. To disrupt the thoughtful consideration and discussion of ideas and media and replace it with an emotional response that squelches discussion and consideration.

    From this view point, the primary movement that is afoot in the world today is a corporate financed right wing Christian based extremist movement that wants to establish an American Empire.

    The primary mistake in the video that I see is that it attempts to connect this movement to the One World Government one, as if they are one and the same, and that is incorrect. They are two movements that are vehemently opposed to each other on a number of fronts but work together out of necessity.

    The video assumes that when David Rockefeller (who is a member of the banking establishment) tells Aaron Russo about an “event” that will occur (9/11) that Rockefeller knew this because of his involvement in the banking “one world government” movement. And, that assumption is erroneous. It’s incorrect. Like many people, Rockefeller was aware of the extremist movement that had been ballooning under the surface – of right wing corporate based pro-war, pro-American Empire movement. Hardcore extremist believers in the privatization of the military forces of the USA and it’s allies, who wished to solidify their power and economic reach by the creation of a situation that is irreversible, one that creates the inevitable need for the US and it’s corporate military personal to be in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. A permanent private corporate military presence in the Middle East to replace the lost US military bases which were abandoned in Saudi Arabia due to internal pressures within that totalitarian regime. (Not to mention the fact that the Saudi Arabian oil reserves are nearing the end of their long term usefulness.)

    Does the banking and one world government stand to gain from the establishment of a permanent US presence in the Middle East? Of course. Money creates strange bedfellows to be sure.

    Think for a moment what type of reaction would occur in the USA – on the left and the right – if the NAU were established and it was even perceived – whether it was true or not- that the establishment of the NAU would scuttle and US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Can you imagine the popular uproar?

    The assumption that this information is being kept under raps in order to foment a totalitarian regime is a bit over the top. Like most things of this nature, the press is asked to not react and not assist information until it is more documented and understood. The same thing was done in the establishment of the EU.

    Informed citizens around the world understood in the early 80’s that the EU was going to be established. It wasn’t an issue that was widely understood or seen in the media worldwide until the early 90’s. Was there a conspiracy there to take away the rights of Europeans and control their lives? Doesn’t appear to be does it?

    It’s easy to see conspiracy in emotional contexts based in fear. What we don’t know can hurt us. At least in our minds.

    The real issue here is how much control do we want banks to have in our world? Is the creation of economic unions in our best interests?

    And, as far as liberties are concerned: As long as we remain vigilant and fight for what we believe in, and stay informed and aware, our rights should remain secure.

    Any and all affronts to our rights will be met and challenged. That much is clear.

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