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Wednesday, March 22, 2006


by Greg Palast
for The Guardian
20 March 2006

All the complaining about George Bush's incompetence in Iraq, from both the Left and now the Right, is just dead wrong.On the third anniversary of the tanks rolling over Iraq's border, most who voted for Bush are beginning to doubt if his mission was accomplished.But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do."It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me.

Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam's former oil minister to finalize the plans for "liberating" Iraq's oil industry. In London, Bush's emissary Ebel also instructed Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, the man the Pentagon would choose as post-OIF oil minister for Iraq, on the correct method of disposing Iraq's crude.And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil?

The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."

Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq's oil production -- limiting Iraq's oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.There you have it.

Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get MORE of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing TOO MUCH of it.You must keep in mind who paid for George's ranch and Dick's bunker: Big Oil. And Big Oil -- and their buck-buddies, the Saudis -- don't make money from pumping more oil, but from pumping LESS of it. The lower the supply, the higher the price.It's Economics 101. The oil industry is run by a cartel, OPEC, and what economists call an "oligopoly" -- a tiny handful of operators who make more money when there's less oil, not more of it. So, every time the "insurgents" blow up a pipeline in Basra, every time Mad Mahmoud in Tehran threatens to cut supply, the price of oil leaps. And Dick and George just LOVE it. Dick and George didn't want more oil from Iraq, they wanted less.

I know some of you, no matter what I write, insist that our President and his Veep are on the hunt for more crude so you can cheaply fill your family Hummer; that somehow, these two oil-patch babies are concerned that the price of gas in the USA is bumping up to $3 a gallon.No so, gentle souls. Three bucks a gallon in the States (and a quid a litre in Britain) means colossal profits for Big Oil, and that makes Dick's ticker go pitty-pat with joy. The top oily-gopolists, the five largest oil companies, pulled in $113 billion in profit in 2005 -- compared to a piddly $34 billion in 2002 before Operation Iraqi Liberation. In other words, it's been a good war for Big Oil.

As per Plan Bush, Bahr Al-Ulum became Iraq's occupation oil minister; the conquered nation "enhanced its relationship with OPEC;" and the price of oil, from Clinton peace-time to Bush war-time, shot up 317%.In other words, on the third anniversary of invasion, we can say the attack and occupation is, indeed, a Mission Accomplished. However, it wasn't America's mission, nor the Iraqis'.

It was an Mission Accomplished for OPEC and Big Oil.

Monday, March 20, 2006


[-See what happens when you live in a Bubble? You start arguing with yourself in public-ed]

Bush's Rhetoric Targets Unnamed Critics
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - "Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day," President Bush said recently. Another time he said, "Some say that if you're Muslim you can't be free."
"There are some really decent people," the president said earlier this year, "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people."

Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.
The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.

Bush routinely is criticized for dressing up events with a too-rosy glow. But experts in political speech say the straw man device, in which the president makes himself appear entirely reasonable by contrast to supposed "critics," is just as problematic. Because the "some" often go unnamed, Bush can argue that his statements are true in an era of blogs and talk radio.

Even so, "'some' suggests a number much larger than is actually out there," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as "a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion. "It's such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people," Fields said. "All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What's striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff."

Bush has caricatured the other side for years, trying to tilt legislative debates in his favor or score election-season points with voters. Not long after taking office in 2001, Bush pushed for a new education testing law and began portraying skeptics as opposed to holding schools accountable. The chief opposition, however, had nothing to do with the merits of measuring performance, but rather the cost and intrusiveness of the proposal.

Campaigning for Republican candidates in the 2002 midterm elections, the president sought to use the congressional debate over a new Homeland Security Department against Democrats.
He told at least two audiences that some senators opposing him were "not interested in the security of the American people." In reality, Democrats balked not at creating the department, which Bush himself first opposed, but at letting agency workers go without the usual civil service protections.

Running for re-election against Sen. John Kerry in 2004, Bush frequently used some version of this line to paint his Democratic opponent as weaker in the fight against terrorism: "My opponent and others believe this matter is a matter of intelligence and law enforcement."
The assertion was called a mischaracterization of Kerry's views even by a Republican, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona.

Straw men have made more frequent appearances in recent months, often on national security — once Bush's strong suit with the public but at the center of some of his difficulties today. Under fire for a domestic eavesdropping program, a ports-management deal and the rising violence in Iraq, Bush now sees his approval ratings hovering around the lowest of his presidency. Said Jamieson, "You would expect people to do that as they feel more threatened."

Last fall, the rhetorical tool became popular with Bush when the debate heated up over when troops would return from Iraq. "Some say perhaps we ought to just pull out of Iraq," he told GOP supporters in October, echoing similar lines from other speeches. "That is foolhardy policy." Yet even the speediest plan, as advocated by only a few Democrats, suggested not an immediate drawdown, but one over six months. Most Democrats were not even arguing for a specific troop withdrawal timetable.

Recently defending his decision to allow the National Security Agency to monitor without subpoenas the international communications of Americans suspected of terrorist ties, Bush has suggested that those who question the program underestimate the terrorist threat. "There's some in America who say, 'Well, this can't be true there are still people willing to attack,'" Bush said during a January visit to the NSA.

The president has relied on straw men, too, on the topics of taxes and trade, issues he hopes will work against Democrats in this fall's congressional elections. Usually without targeting Democrats specifically, Bush has suggested they are big-spenders who want to raise taxes, because most oppose extending some of his earlier tax cuts, and protectionists who do not want to open global markets to American goods, when most oppose free-trade deals that lack protections for labor and the environment. "Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world," he said this month in India, talking about the migration of U.S. jobs overseas. "I strongly disagree."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

MARCH MADNESS Part 4: War Is Propoganda

Full Story,8599,1174448,00.html

Posted Friday, Mar. 17, 2006

Four Black Hawk helicopters landed in a wheat field and dropped off a television crew, three photographers, three print reporters and three Iraqi government officials right into the middle of Operation Swarmer. Iraqi soldiers in newly painted humvees, green and red Iraqi flags stenciled on the tailgates, had just finished searching the farm populated by a half-dozen skinny cows and a woman kneading freshly risen dough and slapping it to the walls of a mud oven.
The press, flown in from Baghdad to this agricultural gridiron northeast of Samarra, huddled around the Iraqi officials and U.S. Army commanders who explained that the "largest air assault since 2003" in Iraq using over 50 helicopters to put 1500 Iraqi and U.S. troops on the ground had netted 48 suspected insurgents, 17 of which had already been cleared and released. The area, explained the officials, has long been suspected of being used as a base for insurgents operating in and around Samarra, the city north of Baghdad where the bombing of a sacred shrine recently sparked a wave of sectarian violence.
But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.

Friday, March 17, 2006

MARCH MADNESS Part 3: War Is Expensive

As third anniversary of war nears, Iraq reconstruction stalls
By LISA ZAGAROLI , McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON — As the third anniversary of the war approaches, the $21 billion the United States has allocated for reconstruction of Iraq has yet to lift the war-torn nation from ruin...

...While poor security conditions have slowed reconstruction and increased costs, "a variety of management challenges" also impeded progress, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. "Difficulties include lack of agreement among U.S. agencies, contractors, and Iraqi authorities, high staff turnover, and an inflationary environment that makes it difficult to submit accurate pricing," the GAO said. While corruption isn't pervasive, Bowen said, there have been cases of contract fraud, particularly early in the war. On Thursday, a jury found a defense contractor liable for fraudulently billing U.S. funds in the first Iraq contracting case brought under the False Claims Act...

MARCH MADNESS Part 2: War Is Stupid

Pew Research: Support For War At All-Time Low.

All Things Considered, March 16, 2006 · Three years after the start of the war in Iraq, U.S. public support for the effort is at an all-time low, according to the latest poll from the Pew Research Center. Two-thirds of those polled say the United States is "losing ground" in preventing civil war in Iraq.
Forty-nine percent of those polled say they believe the United States will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq, compared to 57 percent in December. The results also show that in a range of areas -- from defeating the insurgency to reducing civilian casualties -- Americans say the United States is failing to make progress.
Andrew Kohut, the center's director, discusses the poll's findings with Robert Siegel.

MARCH MADNESS Part One: War Is Hell.

ISAHAQI , IRAQ MARCH 15: The bodies of two children allegedly killed in a U.S raid lay on the ground before burial on March 15, 2006 in the village of Isahaqi about 50 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq. Eleven people were killed when a house was allegedly bombed during an early morning U.S military raid. The dead were mainly women and children. (Photo by Getty Images)

[NOTE: Thanks and All Credit to for photos and post: See]

Thursday, March 09, 2006


The Commonsense Budget Act of 2006.

Pundits--especially in the Republican Echo Chamber of corporate media--like to point out that, although the GOP is in trouble with the American people, they are in no danger of losing the 2006 election because the "Democrats don't have a coherent voice..." (Peggy Noonan).

I have always held that the "Center" is a political myth. If centrists values were critical to winning elections, the Republicans couldn't get elected dog catcher!

The Democrats have to take the so-called "progressive" ground and fight for it, debate it, and win on point and quit running from our core values.

The Commonsense Budget Act of 2006 is a great start for Democrats to take the fight to the Corruptlicans. Being good on 'National Defense' doesn't mean larding defense contractors with everything they want. It does mean funding the basics and redirecting some of that lard to the hungry and to the increasingly financially-strapped middle-class. After all, economic and social equity is critical to maintaining the domestic tranquility and social welfare that undergirds out national stability.

It makes sense to fully fund veterans' health care, but it is ridiculous to pay bonuses to Halliburton, which the GAO has determined has underperformed and overcharged for services in Iraq. Likewise, it is sensible to pay for body armor and bullets for our troops, but it is nonsensical to pour billions more into useless weapons systems like the F-22A Raptor, which was designed to outpace Soviet fighter jets.

Commonsense Budget Act of 2006 sponsor Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) may have found exactly the framework for Democrats to carry the ball down field this Fall. Let's hope Democrats have both guts AND Commonsense to support this legislation.

H. R. 4898
To reallocate funds toward sensible priorities such as improved children's education, increased children's access to health care, expanded job training, and increased energy efficiency and conservation through a reduction of wasteful defense spending, and for other purposes.
Ms. WOOLSEY(for herself and Ms. LEE) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on
To reallocate funds toward sensible priorities such as improved children's education, increased children's access to health care, expanded job training, and increased energy efficiency and conservation through a reduction of wasteful defense spending, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the ''Common Sense Budget Act of 2006''.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The Department of Defense's increasingly large budget provides for total defense spending that is greater than that of the other 192 countries in the world combined, yet-
(A) the United States now ranks 25th in the world in infant mortality, behind most of the nations of Western Europe and the industrialized Far East, while $60,000,000,000 of the United States defense budget is expended annually on weapons designed to thwart Soviet Union aggression during the Cold War and other wasteful programs;
(B) Federal spending on elementary and secondary education has fallen to less than 10 percent of the proposed 2006 outlays for the Department of Defense, while schools through- out the Nation are eliminating programs in music, foreign language, and physical education;
(C) 61,000,000 individuals in the United States lack health insurance during some period of any given year, and half that number of individuals (over 10,000,000 of whom are children) lack such insurance for the entire year;
(D) the Government Accountability Office estimates that-
(i) 1⁄3 of the Nation's public schools, serving 14,000,000 children, need extensive repair or need to have their entire physical plants replaced;
(ii) 85 percent of the Nation's public schools, 73,000 facilities serving 40,000,000 children, need some repair work; and
(iii) the total cost for the repairs and replacement described in this subparagraph is over $120,000,000,000;
(E) research conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that middle school students in the United States rank 18th in science test scores and 19th in math test scores internationally, behind students in such countries as the Republic of Korea, the Slovak Republic, Singapore, the Russian Federation, and Malaysia; and
(F) the Government Accountability Office estimated in 2003 that the Department of Defense could not account for over $1,000,000,000,000 in funds appropriated to the Department of Defense.
(2) The United States spends over $20,000,000,000 annually to maintain its nuclear arsenal, although many of the weapons in that arsenal no longer have practical utility. The United States needs to eliminate spending on obsolete weapons systems and use the funds saved to meet urgent domestic needs for health care, education, job training, and increased energy efficiency and conservation.
(3) The Department of Defense is spending billions of dollars developing space weapons and pre- paring plans to deploy them, although-
(A) those expenditures and plans contravene White House policy, in place for a decade, that emphasizes arms control and non- proliferation pacts; and
(B) the development of those weapons is opposed by many United States allies, who have rightly stated that a shift in policy towards that development will create an arms race in space.
(4) The United States needs to reduce its dependence on foreign oil by promoting long-term energy security through greater investment in sustain- able and renewable energy alternatives.
(5) The United States is facing unprecedented challenges to national security and broader national interests. Sustainable development and humanitarian assistance programs should be a central part of United States foreign policy. To address the root causes of instability and terrorism and undercut the ability of terrorist organizations to recruit effectively, the United States needs to address the global challenges of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, disease, and disaster by increasing funding for sustain- able development and humanitarian assistance pro- grams.
(A) IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, of the amounts appropriated or otherwise available for fiscal year 2006 for each program or account of the Department of Defense specified in subparagraph (B)
(i) the amount available in such fiscal year for such program or account shall be reduced by the amount specified with respect to such program or account in that subparagraph; and
(ii) an amount equal to the aggregate amount of all such reductions under clause
(i) shall be available instead for the purposes set forth in subsection (b).
(B) SPECIFIED PROGRAMS AND ACCOUNTS AND AMOUNTS.-The programs and accounts, and amounts with respect to such programs and accounts, specified in this subparagraph are as follows:
(i) The F-22 fighter aircraft pro- gram, $3,300,000,000.
(ii) The F-35 Joint Strike fighter air- craft program, $3,200,000,000.
(iii) The C-130J aircraft program, $1,600,000,000.
(iv) The V-22 Osprey aircraft pro- gram, $1,600,000,000.
(v) The Virginia class submarine pro- gram, $2,300,000,000.
(vi) The next generation destroyer (DD(X)) program, $1,800,000,000.
(vii) The Ballistic Missile Defense program, $7,500,000,000.
(viii) Cross-service accounts for re- search, development, test, and evaluation, $5,000,000,000.
(ix) Accounts providing funds for personnel and other costs associated with drawdowns and other reductions in the Armed Forces, $9,000,000,000.
(x) Space weapons programs, $5,000,000,000.
(xi) The Future Combat System, $2,400,000,000.
(xii) Programs relating to the operations of the Department of Defense that can be combined to achieve efficiencies in such operations, $4,300,000,000.
(2) DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NATIONAL SECU- RITY PROGRAMS.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, of the amounts appropriated or other- wise available for fiscal year 2006 for the Department of Energy for the National Nuclear Security Administration for national security programs-
(A) the amount available in such fiscal year for such programs shall be reduced by $13,000,000,000; and
(B) an amount equal to the amount of the reduction under subparagraph (A) shall be available instead for the purposes set forth in subsection (b).
(b) DOMESTIC PROGRAMS.-From amounts made available under subsection (a)-
(1) $10,000,000,000 shall be made available to carry out the modernization of school facilities under section 8007(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7707(b));
(2) $10,000,000,000 shall be made available to carry out State child health plans under title XXI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397aa et seq.);
(3) $5,000,000,000 shall be made available to carry out employment and training activities under chapter 5 of subtitle B of title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2861 et seq.);
(4) $10,000,000,000 shall be made available to the Secretary of Energy for such programs as that Secretary may specify to increase energy efficiency and conservation and increase investment in sustain- able and renewable energy alternatives;
(5) $13,000,000,000 shall be made available to the Secretary of State for such sustainable development and humanitarian assistance programs as that Secretary may specify to alleviate the global challenges of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, disease, and disaster;
(6) $5,000,000,000 shall be available to the Secretary of Homeland Security to improve safe- guards pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002;
(7) $5,000,000,000 shall be made available to reduce the deficit; and
(8) $2,000,000,000 shall be made available for medical research.
This Act takes effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.