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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Alternet article...speaks for itself... 

I have nothing to add...ABC's 9/11 "docudrama" a creepy shill for Bush and his crime family...

http://www.alternet.org/story/41288/

An excerpt:

One astonishing sequence in "The Path to 9/11" shows the CIA and the Northern Alliance surrounding Bin Laden's house in Afghanistan. They're on the verge of capturing Bin Laden, but they need final approval from the Clinton administration in order to go ahead. They phone Clinton, but he and his senior staff refuse to give authorization for the capture of Bin Laden, for fear of political fall-out if the mission should go wrong and civilians are harmed. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in essence tells the team in Afghanistan that if they want to capture Bin Laden, they'll have to go ahead and do it on their own without any official authorization. The episode is a perfect example of Clinton-era irresponsibility and incompetence.

The only problem with this "perfect example," which Murty praises because it "honestly depicts how the Clinton administration repeatedly bungled the capture of Osama Bin Laden," is that it didn't happen. In reality, it was CIA director George Tenet, not Berger, who called off the operation, which never got anywhere near "surrounding Bin Laden's house in Afghanistan." According to the 9/11 commision report on which the movie is supposedly based, Tenet told us that, given the recommendation of his chief operations officers, he alone had decided to "turn off" the operation. He had simply informed Berger, who had not pushed back. Berger's recollection was similar. He said the plan was never presented to the White House for a decision.

Ick. But remember, it's the stupidity and cupidity-for-money of your fellow "'Merkins" that makes this Midland Mafia possible. This kind of "docudrama" litany of lies is the only Resmuglican response possible anymore (let's blame Clinton), when faced with their abject failure to do anything--notice they haven't even addressed Roe vs. Wade? Serves all you single-issue anti-abortion voters right. Not only are the Resmuglicans allowing US babies to die, but they're killing Iraqi babies, too.

The Resmuglicans hold all the power, and the economy is in tatters, the housing bubble rubbing against a thorn, gas above $70 a barrel, the deficit in territory never previously explored by an earth economy, and oh, the "war" going great (ok, it is going great for Titan, Bechtel, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Halliburton, CACI, Mobil, Exxon, and others...). Better find a way to blame Clinton. If you can't stand on your own merits, look for a scapeBill.

-Vulf

Excellent Recent Reads: 

1. "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. Excellent follow-on on his themes in "Guns, Germs and Steel" with the addition of excellent research and perspectives on why there is still hope and time. The most interesting chapter? Perhaps the comparison of the Greenland Norse, who perished en masse, to the Inuit, who survived. The difference? Willingness to adapt to the world around you, for one. Excellent thoughts for our troubled ecology. A MUST read.

2. "A Great and Noble Scheme" by John Faragher. Indepth, sensitive consideration of the Acadian Expulsion/Genocide at the hands of New Englanders. Finished this just before a long trip to Eastern Canada (part of the reason for my paucity of blogging this summer--it's been damn busy in Vulfworld). An amazing description of the tragedy of the first planned genocide in the New World. Faragher introduces an excellent analytical tool for calculating the true impact of any forced movement of people, by projecting their population growth forward and comparing the survivors to how many would have been alive. Followed up by yours Vulfy, Faolin and the little wolves with a visit to Grand Pre and their modern Acadian museum (one of North America's top ten museums, IMHO).

3. "1776" (and "The Johnstown Flood") by David McCullough. Wow. I already liked Washington a lot (since reading "An Imperfect God", http://www.amazon.com/An-Imperfect-God-Washington-Creation/dp/0374529515/sr=1-1/qid=1157524767/ref=sr_1_1/002-9168815-0000005?ie=UTF8&s=books), but this book really brings out his humanity--his boneheaded decisions and his thickheaded courage. We live in an entirely different country now. (There was an excellent side comment by McCullough on how the British regulars were astonished at the wealth in the then-countryside of Brooklyn--what more can these rebels want?). The Johnstown Flood occurred because some mega-rich folks wanted a summer lake resort, and didn't bother making sure a dam was safe. None of them ever did time, but they killed thousands. An amazing story, and like 9/11, more than 2,000 people were killed due to the conscious neglect of our Conservative rich.

-Vulf

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Iraq news worse still... 

Of course Iraq is in the grips of a Civil War. The problem being, like that in Russia in 1917, that there are currently so many combatants it's hard to even tell what the sides are. The shia and sunni control many of the mesopotamian provinces, the kurds the northeast, and apparently the "resistance" (whatever that means) the west. As CommonDreams.org reports, the west really couldn't be worse.

Now, given that Pakistan has today declared (and later denied) Bin Laden is free to live "peacefully" in their country, you have to wonder how in hell the US is going to get its troops, including friends of yours Vulfy, out of Iraq. Here is news on the ground in western Iraq:

According to the group Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, 964 coalition soldiers have been killed in al-Anbar, more than in any other Iraqi province. Baghdad is second, with 665 coalition deaths.

Residents of Ramadi told IPS that the U.S. military has knocked down several buildings near the government centre in the city, the capital of the province. In an apparent move to secure their offices, U.S. Army and Marine engineers have started to level a half-kilometre stretch of low-rise buildings opposite the centre. Abandoned buildings in this area have been used repeatedly to launch attacks on the government complex. "They are trying to create a separation area between the offices of the puppet government and the buildings the resistance are using to attack them," a Ramadi resident said. "But now the Americans are making us all angry because they are destroying our city." U.S. troops have acknowledged their own difficulties in doing this.

"We're used to taking down walls, doors and windows, but eight city blocks is something new to us," Marine 1st Lt. Ben Klay, 24, said in the U.S. Department of Defence newspaper Stars and Stripes. In nearby Fallujah, residents are reporting daily clashes between Iraqi-U.S. security forces and the resistance. "The local police force which used to be out of the conflict are now being attacked," said a resident who gave his name as Abu Mohammed. "Hundreds of local policemen have quit the force after seeing that they are considered a legitimate target by fighters."

The U.S. forces seem to have no clear policy in the face of the sustained resistance. "The U.S. Army seems so confused in handling the security situation in Anbar," said historian Salman. "Attacks are conducted from al-Qa'im on the Syrian border to Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad, all the way through Haditha, Hit, Ramadi and Fallujah on a daily basis." He added: "A contributing factor to the instability of the province is the endless misery of the civilians who live with no services, no infrastructure, random shootings and so many wrongful detentions."

According to the new Pentagon quarterly report on Measuring Security and Stability in Iraq, Iraqi casualties rose 51 percent in recent months. The report says Sunni-based insurgency is "potent and viable." The report says that in a period since the establishment of the new Iraqi government, between May 20 and Aug. 11 this year, the average number of weekly attacks rose to nearly 800, almost double the number of the attacks in early 2004. Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces averaged nearly 120 a day during the period, up from 80 a day reported in the previous quarterly report. Two years ago they were averaging roughly 30 a day.

On Aug. 31 the Pentagon announced that it is increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to 140,000, which is 13,000 more than the number five weeks ago. At least 65 U.S. soldiers were killed in August, with 36 of the deaths reported in al-Anbar. That brought the total number killed to at least 2,642.

It's starting to sound like what, inevitably happens, to any bully. Can the US (and its 51st state, Israel) run over Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon? Sure, but not all at the same time. And those "little" guys are ganging together now to fight a common menace. By the way, the populations of these five countries? Try 296 million...that's right, 99% as much as the United States. Looks like the US is going to need more allies, or more of its 299 million citizens, half of whom are against the war, to sign up. Did we forget about North Korea, too?

Outmaneuvered, outsmarted, now outnumbered in the Middle East. Let's make it happen in the House and Senate. Get the vote out to get the criminals out. Time for change, time for subpoenas, time for a new day.

-Vulf

Economic News...5 straight years... 

Hmmm, median income is down for the fifth straight year. Wonder what that correlates with?

Check out the bleak (at least for the average--median--American, that is) economic data at:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/09/02/another_year_another_wage_loss/

The Census Bureau reported that median incomes for working-age families were down again, for the fifth straight year [Every year since the coup d'etat]. Real median income for households under age 65 is down by 5.4 percent since 2000, even though the economy has grown every year. All of that gain has gone to upper-bracket people and corporate profits.

The Pew Research Center released an extensive survey on public attitudes about the economy. Pew reported, ``The public thinks that workers were better off a generation ago on every key dimension of worker life -- be it wages, benefits, retirement plans, on-the-job stress, the loyalty they are shown by employers." And, statistically, the public is right.

The Globe recently reported that chief executives of nonprofit hospitals now routinely make more than $1 million. University presidents are not far behind.

The Economic Policy Institute has released its annual, encyclopedic report, ``The State of Working America." Among its findings: The economy's productivity increased by a remarkable 33.5 percent between 1995 and 2005, but real wages have declined since 2000. Employer-provided health coverage declined from 69 percent in 1979 to 56 percent in 2004. The top 1 percent's share of interest, dividends, and capital gains has risen from 37.8 percent in 1979 to 57.5 percent in 2003.

You read this right--the top 1% is making over half of the extra income...why aren't folks revolting in the streets? Not sure, but we do know the folks are REVOLTING in power.

Politically, it's evident what is occurring. Those in a position to capture astronomical incomes are awarding themselves an ever-larger share of the national economic pie. Meanwhile, ordinary incomes, job security, health security, and retirement security are eroding.

The political mystery is why everyone else is not kicking up a fuss. After all, as the Pew report suggests, it's not as if people are unaware of what's happening. Here's a clue to some of the puzzle: Polls show that people do want more reliable wages, pensions, and health insurance. But too many people have given up on the idea that the political process can be used to restore the American dream.

If the political process cannot restore the American dream, then what will? It's starting to look more like pitchforks and ropes.

-Vulf

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