Quotes of the Day
Sy Hersh in the UC Berkeley News:
“How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?” he asked. “They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?”
Apparently you just need 8 positions to take over the US government: Chief, Near East and South Asia division of the Department of Defense; Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Deputy Secretary of Defense; Secretary of Defense; Undersecretary of State for Arms Control; Chairman, Defense Policy Board; Vice President; Chief of Staff to the Vice President; and Deputy National Security Adviser. Of course, it only works if you have a president who needs radio signals to be told what to say and do (see below). If you don’t know who held the positions mentioned during 2002-2003, do look them up on google.com, and then compare the holders of these offices to the members of the Project for a New American Century and the signers of the 1996 policy statement done for Israel’s Likud Party, “A Clean Break.” Both “A Clean Break” and the PNAC documents insisted back in the 1990s on a war against Iraq.
(Tiny Revolution has more chilling details on Hersh’s description of massacres by US troops in Iraq.)
“a technical expert who designs and makes such devices for the U.S. military tells Salon that he believes the bulge is indeed a transceiver designed to receive electronic signals and transmit them to a hidden earpiece lodged in Bush’s ear canal.”
(Referring to the apparent use by Bush of a wireless device to allow him to be coached during the Kerry debates. If true, this development is horrifying for several reasons. It means that Bush’s disastrous performance in the first debate was the best he could do while cheating. It also means that there is something seriously wrong with Bush’s mind, which must be apparent to those close to him. You begin to wonder if the rules laid down for the September 11 Commission, whereby Bush and Cheney were interviewed together, wasn’t the first sign of a dirty little secret in official Washington: Nice White House, nobody home.
Mohammad Elbaradei of the International Atomic Energy Commission concerning the disappearance from Iraq of equipment and materials that have application to the making of nuclear weapons:
‘ The IAEA continues to be concerned about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq’s nuclear program,” Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog agency, wrote in a three-page report to the U.N. Security Council. “The disappearance of such equipment and materials may be of proliferation significance.” ‘
‘ President Bush’s special envoy, James Baker, who has been trying to persuade the world to forgive Iraq’s crushing debts, is simultaneously working for a commercial concern that is trying to recover money from Iraq, according to confidential documents.
Mr Baker’s Carlyle Group is in a consortium secretly proposing to try to collect $27bn (£15bn) on behalf of Kuwait, one of Iraq’s biggest creditors, by using high-level political influence. It claims Mr Baker will not benefit personally, but the consortium could make millions in fees, retainers and commission as a result.
Other countries, including Britain, have been urged by Mr Baker to relieve the new Iraq regime of its $200bn debt burden. Iraq owes Britain approximately $1bn.
One international lawyer described the consortium’s scheme as “influence peddling of the crassest kind”.
Jerome Levinson, an expert on political and corporate ethics at American University in Washington, told the Guardian: “The consortium is saying to the Kuwaiti government, ‘Through us you have the only chance to realize a substantial part of the debt. Why? Because of who we are and who we know’.” ‘
It is little surprise that Bush, who is close to Enron criminal CEO Ken Lay and several other criminal CEOs that looted the country, should have employed for this purpose a person whose company stood to benefit. After Cheney arranged for a war that he knew would benefit Halliburton economically, the Baker scandal is just par for the course.
Mark Hyman of Sinclair Broadcasting, on why his company is making affiliate television stations carry far rightwing agitprop against John Kerry just before the election:
‘ However, the accusations coming from Terry McAuliffe and others, is it because they are some elements of this that may reflect poorly on John Kerry? That it’s somehow an in-kind contribution of George Bush?
If you use that logic and reasoning, that means every car bomb in Iraq would be an in-kind contribution to John Kerry. Weak job performance ratings that came out last month would have been an in- kind contribution to John Kerry. And that’s just nonsense.
This is news. I can’t change the fact that these people decided to come forward today. The networks had this opportunity over a month ago to speak with these people. They chose to suppress them. They chose to ignore them. They are acting like Holocaust deniers, pretending these men don’t exist. ‘
Jewish groups are understandably upset about Hyman’s trivialization of the Holocaust, and most fair-minded Americans are upset about Sinclair’s continual flouting of US laws governing private exploitation of the airwaves. It should be remembered that the American public owns the airwaves, and that the US government only licenses them temporarily for use by private businesses like Sinclair. (Personally, I don’t think the US public is getting a proper return on its licenses; I’d like to get a check for my share of the profits the broadcast media make annually from my 290 millionth of the airwaves.)
Josh Marshall is giving good instructions as to how viewers in Sinclair markets can put pressure on advertisers and local affiliates to punish this behavior. Every time someone at the top of Sinclair speaks publicly it reminds me of the impassioned speeches of General Jack Ripper in Dr. Strangelove denouncing commie attempts to pollute his “precious bodily fluids.”
650 US experts in foreign affairs and national security write in an open letter to Bush:
‘ American actions in Iraq, including but not limited to the scandal of Abu Ghraib, have harmed the reputation of the U.S. in most parts of the Middle East and, according to polls, made Osama Bin Laden more popular in some countries than is President Bush. This increased popularity makes it easier for al-Qaida to raise money, attract recruits, and carry out its terrorist operations than would otherwise be the case.’
The letter makes good points about the disaster that post-war Bush administration policy has been in Iraq. I was offered the opportunity to sign it and declined, however, because I am disturbed by its suggestion that the US should have instead have been taking an aggressive posture toward Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. The authors may not have intended to sound as hawkish as they did to me, but I think this trope on the Left, of Bush having attacked the wrong country, is very dangerous and will ultimately play into the hands of the Neocons, who have further wars they want to fight. Richard Perle and David Frum, for instance, have already urged the forcible break-up of Saudi Arabia. When Pakistan was given a choice of siding with the Taliban or with the US, its government chose the US. The Saudi government does all sorts of favors for the US behind the scenes, and the Saudi elite is so heavily invested in the US stock market that it would be crazy for them to support an attack on New York. Iran is in the throes of an internal battle between hardliners and liberals, and it is not in a position to make a nuclear bomb at this time in any case. So, I quoted the part of the letter with which I agree.
The letter was the lead of the al-Jazeerah news broadcasts all day Tuesday. Often al-Jazeerah is intellectually more serious than any US satellite news channels. I saw a great debate there recently between Muhammad Arkoun and Rachid Ghanouchi, an Algerian secularist and a Tunisian Islamist. No American news program would lead with the letter of 650 mere academics.