Granny Rant
Saturday, August 30, 2003
::: Rebuilding Contracts Still Awarded to American Corporations
~~ Regardless of an Astonishing Difference in Cost :::

In the instance of rebuilding the New Diyala Bridge at the Southeast end of Baghdad.

If they react as I did, American taxpayers will choke on the astronomical difference in
cost showered on the favored few. I am talking about a difference in an estimate
submitted by an Iraqi structural engineer of $300,000 and the contract awarded to
the American company at $50,000,000.

WOW, that stated in words is Three Hundred Thousand Dollars OR Fifty Million Dollars.

Uh, could we vote on that???

It is very difficult to supress anger and remain unemotional about the policies of the
Bremer/Bush Regime, and impossible to ignore they are, once again, backing out of
stated goals andproposed policies to include and help the Iraqi people.

More from River's account involving her cousin, a structural engineer

Listen to this little anecdote. One of my cousins works in a prominent engineering company in Baghdad- we’ll call the company H. This company is well-known for designing and building bridges all over Iraq. My cousin, a structural engineer, is a bridge freak. He spends hours talking about pillars and trusses and steel structures to anyone who’ll listen.

As May was drawing to a close, his manager told him that someone from the CPA wanted the company to estimate the building costs of replacing the New Diyala Bridge on the South East end of Baghdad. He got his team together, they went out and assessed the damage, decided it wasn’t too extensive, but it would be costly. They did the necessary tests and analyses (mumblings about soil composition and water depth, expansion joints and girders) and came up with a number they tentatively put forward- $300,000. This included new plans and designs, raw materials (quite cheap in Iraq), labor, contractors, travel expenses, etc.

Let’s pretend my cousin is a dolt. Let’s pretend he hasn’t been working with bridges for over 17 years. Let’s pretend he didn’t work on replacing at least 20 of the 133 bridges damaged during the first Gulf War. Let’s pretend he’s wrong and the cost of rebuilding this bridge is four times the number they estimated- let’s pretend it will actually cost $1,200,000. Let’s just use our imagination.

A week later, the New Diyala Bridge contract was given to an American company. This particular company estimated the cost of rebuilding the bridge would be around- brace yourselves- $50,000,000 !!

This continuation of corporate-enrichment carried out either by Washington
(or at least sanctioned by them) or Bremer's new regime continues down an
extremely disturbing path.

Excuse me, but I was under the impression we were doing our best to include and use
the extremely capable Iraqi engineers available. The administration has pointed out
from the beginning that Iraq was a country wealthy in educated men and women.

Wouldn't that give the Iraqi people more of a sense they were involved in the formation
of the New Iraq? Or are we only concerned in awarding contracts to Bechtel
and Halliburton, who, by the way, do not seem to be up to the job.

It is a disgrace that the super- powerful United States cannot get electricity and water
to the people of Iraq. Now lets see ... who was supposed to handle that little chore?
Ah yes ... Bechtel.

Since our own electric grid seems to be disintergrating, (or is that just another cheap
trick to encourage what the administration deems a superior state of affairs -
deregulation) perhaps we could bring the Iraqi engineers over here to save us
from impending blackouts.

More from River at Baghdad Burning (link above) ~ an Iraqi view of American Myths

The Promise and the Threat
The Myth: Iraqis, prior to occupation, lived in little beige tents set up on the sides of little dirt roads all over Baghdad. The men and boys would ride to school on their camels, donkeys and goats. These schools were larger versions of the home units and for every 100 students, there was one turban-wearing teacher who taught the boys rudimentary math (to count the flock) and reading. Girls and women sat at home, in black burkas, making bread and taking care of 10-12 children.

The Truth: Iraqis lived in houses with running water and electricity. Thousands of them own computers. Millions own VCRs and VCDs. Iraq has sophisticated bridges, recreational centers, clubs, restaurants, shops, universities, schools, etc. Iraqis love fast cars (especially German cars) and the Tigris is full of little motor boats that are used for everything from fishing to water-skiing.

Granny is not the only one who has noticed River at Baghdad Burning as a credible
source of information regarding the spending of OUR Tax $$$ ~~ Burnt Toast

So .... there ... feels great to RANT!

::: Baghdad Burning Weighs In On Bombing :::

“[Iraq] is not a country in chaos and Baghdad is not a city in chaos.” – Paul Bremer

Where is this guy living? Is he even in the same time zone??? I’m incredulous… maybe he's from some alternate universe where shooting, looting, tanks, rape, abductions, and assassinations aren’t considered chaos, but it’s chaos in *my* world.

River goes on to say ~~ Since the beginning of the occupation, over 400 females have been abducted and that is only the reported abductions. Rather than ask the CPA for assistance, the male members of the family usually search for the abductee and take whatever revenge they can.

As to the bombing, she says she hated the Islamic Fundamentalism of the Ayatollah, but says the killng was not to way to handle it.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
::: SKB Has the Scoop on Apocalypse :::

Guess the End Times are finally upon us. It is at times like these we
like to sit quietly and reflect on Deep Thoughts ... From The Bubba

Gentle folk from many lands ... well all over Tennessee, anyway ...
add thoughtful comments on the Oh crap, is this it, thing?
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
::: The Story of the Nine Dancing Pupets :::
::: OR ::: Iraq Has Nine Presidents :::

Another post from River at Baghdad Burning

I am calling her River because that is part of the name where she lives. It is the only name I have for her.
This is the story of the new rotating Governer's Council. The composition of the council is as follows:

The nine-member rotating presidency is a failure at first sight. It’s also a failure at second, third, fourth… and ninth sight. The members of the rotating presidency, composed of 4 Shi’a Muslims, 2 Sunni Muslims and 2 Kurds, were selected on a basis of ethnicity and religion

It was decided that each one of them would get a chance to govern their adoring Iraqi population a month. After several arguments and, I imagine, threats, ultimatums and tantrums, it was decided that each one of the members would get their turn in alphabetical order (the Arabic alphabet).

So here is the cast of the most elaborate puppet show Iraq has ever seen (in order of appearance).

The Puppet: Ibraheim Al-Jaffari
56-year-old head of the Islamic Daawa party who was living in Iran and London.
The Al-Daawa Islamic Party debuted in 1958 as the most prominent Shi’a political movement. Al-Daawa ‘activists’ learned their techniques from an extremist Iranian group known as ‘Fida’yeen El-Islam’ and were distinctive for their use of explosives to make political statements. Universities, schools and recreational centers were often targets.

Ibraheim Al-Jaffari makes me uncomfortable. He isn’t very direct or coherent. He speaks in a suspiciously low voice and has a shifty gaze that never seems to settle on the camera.

The Puppet: Ahmad Al-Chalabi
This guy is a real peach. He is the head of the Iraqi National Congress and heavily backed by the Pentagon. He was a banker who embezzled millions from the Petra Bank in Jordan. My favorite part of his life story is how he escaped from Jordan in the trunk of a car… a modern-day Cleopatra, if you will. When asked if he thinks the war on Iraq was justified, even if WMD aren’t found, he immediately (and rather huffily) replies, “Of course- *I* wouldn’t be sitting here in Iraq if it weren’t for the war…” As if he’s God’s gift to humanity. He’s actually America’s gift to the Iraqi people- the crowning glory of the war, chaos and occupation: the looter of all looters.

Puppet: Iyad Allawi
A former Iraqi intelligence officer, and former Ba’ath member, who was sent to London on a scholarship from the former Ba’athist government. Rumor has it that when the scholarship ran out, he denounced his Ba’ath membership and med the Iraqi National Accord.has been living in London ever since 1971.

Puppet:lal Talabani
Head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PUK controls the southeastern part of the autonomous Kurdish area in the north. Scintillating rumor on the street: ore he became a ‘leader’, he had a nightclub in Turkey where he was running an illegitimate… umm… we’ll call it an ‘escort service’e truth is that he is the rival of Massoud Berazani, the other leader in the autonomous Kurdish region and ir rivalry would often lead to bloodshed between their supporters. famous quote: “Politics is a whore”.

NOTE: Granny's Added Update ~~ Tragic Bombing on 8-29-03

NAJAF, Iraq (CNN) -- A massive car bomb that claimed the lives of one of Shiite Islam's top clerics and 124 others Friday was the deadliest attack in Iraq since the regime of Saddam Hussein fell and the third in a string of terrorist attacks this month.

Ammar Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, left [picture not included], nephew of prominent cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim -- who was killed in Friday's bombing -- appears at the massive gathering in Najaf on Saturday.

Details included to identify the Ayatollah's nephew as the person killed in the bombing.

Puppet: Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim
uty leader of SCIRI (Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq). He has been in Iran for decades and is the commander of ‘Badir’s Army’ or what is also known as the Badir Brigade- responsible for a lot of the post-war chaos. frightening thing is that there are ors of negotiations between SCIRI and the CPA t allowing the Brigade to be in charge of ‘security’ in some regions.

Puppet: Adnan Al-Pachichi
A Sunni Arab who is- brace yourself- years old (some say it’s 84). as foreign minister for 2 years in the ‘60s. My grandfather remembers him *vaguely*. I’m sorry, but he just looks too weary to be running Iraq. It will be amazing if he makes it to elections. He been outside of Iraq ever since the late ‘60s and seems to know as little about modern Iraq as the Iraqis know about him.

Puppet: Mohsen Abdul Hamid
The secretary of the Islamic Party- a Sunni fundamentalist Islamic group (a branch of the Islamic Brotherhood). another fundamentalist group, but this one was chosen to keep the Sunni fundamentalists quiet.

Puppet: Mohammed Bahr Ul Iloom
Otherwise known as ‘Mohammed Bahr Ul- who???’ Very few people seem to have heard of him. He is a Shi’a Muslim cleric who fled Iraq in 1991. He was in exile in London. He is o in his 80s and his only political qualification seems to be the fact that he fled and considered himself in exile.promptly squelched any chance he had at gaining popularity by being the one selected to declare April 9 the Iraqi National Day.

Puppet: Massoud Berezani
The d of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and rival of Jalal Talabani. He was backed by the US in north Iraq. conflicts with Talabani have ulted in the deaths of thousands of Kurds in bloody battles and assassinations and the exile of others. To see them sitting at the same table, staring adoringly at ‘Father Bremerou would think they had always been the best of friends- it’s a fascinating lesson in politics. A question poses itself: if they couldn’t control a few provinces in the north, how do they expect to be able to govern all of Iraq?

The two Kurdish leaders also control an armed militia known as ‘Bayshmarga’. The Bayshmarga are multitalented. They act as bodyguards, and smugglers. They were caught smuggling cars, currency and artifacts. These last two days there have been clashes between them and the Turkomen in Kirkuk.

The most infuriating thing is hearing Bremer talk about how the members of the rotating presidency represent the Iraqi people. In reality, they represent the CPA and Bremer. They are America’s Puppets (some of them are Iran’s). They do not govern Iraq or Iraqis in any way- they are merely very highly paid translators: Bremer gives the orders and they translate them to an incredulous public. The majority of them were trained using American tax dollars, and now they are being ‘kept’ by the CPA using Iraqi oil money.

It’s a bad start to democracy, being occupied and having your government and potential leaders selected for you by the occupying powers… On the other hand, could we really expect more from a country whose president was ‘appointed’ by the Supreme Court?

::: What is UP with Bill Kristol? :::

Recently, I saw Bill Kristol on one of the cable news shows and he was
inexplicably voicing the opinion that Bush should Do What It Takes In Iraq

This position threw me for a loop since I know him as one of the PNAC
Neo-Con types with conservative fever. So ... I stopped by the Weekly
just to see what else might be in the article.

First, a mention of Condi Rice's speech where she plugs the idea of generatiional
to rebuilding Iraq. Sort of like the pledge we made in Europe after
It was a stirring speech, made all the more potent by the knowledge that it reflects the president's own vision.

I would find this a more interesting theory if the President had deemed the American
citizens worthy of sharing this vision
For all our admiration for this bold, long-term vision, however, there is reason to be worried about the execution of that policy in the first and probably most important test of our "generational commitment." Make no mistake: The president's vision will, in the coming months, either be launched successfully in Iraq, or it will die in Iraq. Indeed, there is more at stake in Iraq than even this vision of a better, safer Middle East. The future course of American foreign policy, American world leadership, and American security is at stake. Failure in Iraq would be a devastating blow to everything the United States hopes to accomplish, and must accomplish, in the decades ahead.

We believe the president and his top advisers understand the magnitude of the task. That is why it is so baffling that, up until now, the Bush administration has failed to commit resources to the rebuilding of Iraq commensurate with these very high stakes. Certainly, American efforts in Iraq since the end of the war have not been a failure. And considering what might have gone wrong--and which so many critics predicted would go wrong--the results have been in many ways admirable. Iraq has not descended into inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence. There is food and water. Hospitals are up and running. The Arab and Muslim worlds have not erupted in chaos or anger, as so many of our European friends confidently predicted.

Oh gee, I am not sure we are on exactly the same page when it comes to food,
water, hospitals and ... Arab world not descending into inter-religious and inter-
ethnic violence and chaos.
I am pretty sure reports coming out of Baghdad
dispute that view.
... Continuing power shortages throughout much of the country have damaged the reputation of the United States as a responsible occupying power and have led many Iraqis to question American intentions. Ongoing assassinations and sabotage of public utilities by pro-Saddam forces and, possibly, by terrorists entering the country from neighboring Syria and Iran threaten to destabilize the tenuous peace that has held in Iraq since the end of the war.
* WHERE ARE THE TROOPS? It is painfully obvious that there are too few American troops operating in Iraq. Senior military officials privately suggest that we need two more divisions. The simple fact is, right now there are too few good guys chasing the bad guys--hence the continuing sabotage. There are too few forces to patrol the Syrian and Iranian borders to prevent the infiltration of international terrorists trying to open a new front against the United States in Iraq. There are too few forces to protect vital infrastructure and public buildings. And contrary to what some say, more troops don't mean more casualties. More troops mean fewer casualties--both American and Iraqi.

The really bad news is that the Pentagon plans to draw down U.S. forces even further in coming months. Their hope is that U.S. forces will be replaced by new Iraqi forces and by an influx of allied troops from around the world. We fear this is wishful thinking. It seems unlikely that any Iraqi force capable of providing security will be in place by the spring. And as for the international community--never mind whether we could ever convince France and other countries to make a serious contribution. In truth, our European allies do not have that many troops to spare. And consider the possibly unfortunate effects of turning over the security of Iraqis to a patchwork of ill-prepared forces from elsewhere in the world.

* WHERE ARE THE PERSONNEL? The American military is not alone in facing a shortage of people in Iraq. Everyone returning from Iraq comments on the astonishing lack of American civilians as well. Until recently, only a handful of State Department employees have been at work in Iraq. The State Department, we gather, has had a difficult time attracting volunteers to work in Iraq. This is understandable. But it is unacceptable. If the administration is serious about drawing an analogy with the early Cold War years, it should remember that the entire U.S. government oriented itself then to the new challenge. We need to do the same now. The administration must insist that the State Department pull its weight. Indeed, we need to deploy diplomats and civil servants, hire contract workers, and mobilize people and resources in an urgent and serious way. Business as usual is not acceptable. Getting the job done in Iraq is our highest priority, and our government needs to treat it as such.

These are the core problems the Bush administration needs to address. Success in Iraq is within our reach. But there are grounds to fear that on the current trajectory, we won't get there. The president knows that failure in Iraq is intolerable. Now is the time to act decisively to prevent it.

--Robert Kagan and William Kristol

Hmmmm .... Well fellow bloggers ... will have to mull this flip flop a bit further.

::: The Ashcroft Roadshow :::

Ashcroft and his Nazi-Like Patriot Act in Deep Doodie

More and more Americans of every persuasion (and with a few minutes to actually read the Patriot Act) have joined in a grass roots movement to resist the broad expansion of police powers under the banner of security.

....has picked up so much support in the American heartland it threatens not only repeal of the legislation but political damage to President Bush as well.

Try as he might, Mr. Ashcroft can no longer dismiss opponents of the USA Patriot Act as a small but whiny band of liberals. Some of the nation's top conservative groups as well as a huge majority of the Republican-led House of Representatives -- in other words, the Bush base -- are now leading the drive to eliminate portions of the law that allow secret spying on anyone.

Our panic stricken attorney general is out beating the bushes, trying to sell the Patriot Act as vital to the war on terrorism while a Justice Department Web site seeks to dispel "myths" put out by critics.

This spin control performance is offensive both in its message and its tactics. Mr. Ashcroft, who bullied Congress into granting law enforcement agencies sweeping new powers while the nation was still traumatized by the Sept. 11 attacks, is once again using fear to get his way.

Mr. Ashcroft doesn't address the concerns that have inspired three states and 154 local governments, including Baltimore, to pass resolutions in protest of the Patriot Act. Among these is the power granted to police to secretly obtain records of phone calls, Internet use, library visits and other personal information without probable cause of criminal activity.

Lawmakers also worry about "sneak and peek" searches of homes and property
, about which targets learn much later.

And people .... here is another startling fact:

Mr. Ashcroft speaks only to selected audiences not open to the public. He wants U.S. attorneys in each state to take questions in town meetings, trying to use prosecutors as lobbyists.

The Ashcroft road show seems likely to backfire, and actually fuel the drive for a thorough review by Congress of the Patriot Act to weed out its onerous parts. Mr. Ashcroft should be weeded out as well.

Praise The Lord ... we may be delivered from Evil after all..... Cause ... lookie below for MORE on Ashcroft's Unpatriotic Acts.

When the Patriot Act raced through Congress after Sept. 11, critics warned that it was an unprecedented expansion of the government's right to spy on ordinary Americans. The more people have learned about the law, the greater the calls have been for overhauling it. One section that has produced particular outrage is the authorization of "sneak and peek" searches, in which the government secretly searches people's homes and delays telling them about the search. The House last month voted 309 to 118 for a Republican-sponsored measure to block the use of federal funds for such searches.

Opponents of the act are pushing for changes to make it harder for the government to gain access to sensitive data, including medical and library records, and records concerning purchases or rental of books, music or videos. Come on now people, does this really sound like the America we know and love? Other changes concern requirements to make wire taps more specific, narrow the definition of terrorism to prevent its use against domestic protesters, such as environmentalists and anti-abortion activists, and restrictions on information collected about citizens on the Internet or in e-mails.

One member of Congress, Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat, has charged that Mr. Ashcroft's lobbying campaign, in which United States attorneys have been asked to participate, may violate the law prohibiting members of the executive branch from engaging in grass-roots lobbying for or against Congressional legislation. Legal or not, the campaign seeks to shore up a deeply flawed piece of legislation. The Patriot Act is the Bush administration's attempt to make the country safe on the cheap. Rather than do the hard work of coming up with effective port security and air cargo checks, and other programs targeted at actual threats, the administration has taken aim at civil liberties.

The administration is clearly worried, as opposition to the excesses of the Patriot Act grows across the country and the political spectrum. Instead of spin-doctoring the problem, Mr. Ashcroft should work with the law's critics to develop a law that respects Americans' fundamental rights.

Well folks, I bet John Ashcroft is madder than a toad hopping on a griddle!
::: Truth About George Bush Discovered in Knoxville, Tn :::

Yep, right down the road from my own Morristown, a man wiser
than most has unearthed THE TRUTH

The French were right.

The liberals were right.

The peaceniks were right.

True conservatives were right.

Veterans opposed to the war - I hear from more of them than you might imagine - were also right. They said this war was based on lies, and it was. They said this war, like most wars, would lead to more chaos and killing, and it has.

Every public argument for making war on Iraq has broken down. Let's start with the biggest:

* Weapons of mass destruction: None has been found.

* Speaking of nukes, Bush's allegations were based almost solely on documents he apparently knew were forged. What could be more damning?

* The link to al-Qaida: The myth that Iraq had significant ties to al-Qaida was based on a hospital visit to Iraq by one man and another meeting in a third country that likely never took place. No evidence has surfaced for an Iraqi-al-Qaida link

* Iraq would welcome us as liberators: It happenedonly in a few places, and some of those appeared stage-managed. Now Iraqis are criticizing and demonstrating and shooting Americans

* We'd be out in 60 days, leaving behind a democracy that would take root, then blossom across the Middle East: Well, if majority rule flowers in Iraq, Shiites will run the place, as they do in Iran. That's who the majority is.

* Saddam Hussein is an evil man who must be destroyed. As this is written, he's still at large.

* Now, as I say, the car-bombing of U.N. headquarters in Iraq is being used as proof we're in the right. Two points: One, like several thousand others, those U.N. workers would be alive today except for the will to empire by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and a few others who are pulling the strings.

Two. If, in Country X, the power is out, the water's out, the oil pipeline is burning, unemployment tops 60 percent, murder and rape are daily occurrences, the treasury is looted, the museums are looted, official history is a tool for propaganda, and U.N. headquarters are bombed, then the ruler of Country X should be held accountable, right?

Well, Iraq is Country X. Bush is its ruler.

Thanks Don Williams of the Knoxville-News Sentinel, you do us proud.

::: Maybe Bush Thinks We Are Stupid :::
::: Brilliant New Plan Announced :::

As detailed in Americans take it in the ear again
The new rule relaxes the agency's definition of "routine maintenance," a catch-phrase Congress adopted in its 1977 Clean Air Act amendments to describe the only reason an industry could modernize without having to install best-available pollution control technology.
This rule is desperately needed to make America's power plants, factories and refineries safe and reliable," said Jeffrey Marks, director of air-quality policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.

Scott Segal, a lobbyist and attorney for six large utilities, said even the new allowance for replacement costs wouldn't fix all the shortcomings in the new source review program, but it would "move us along the path of improving efficiency and reliability of the electric power system."

Environmentalists describe the new rule as aa giveaway to utilities and industry, allowing many of the nation's dirtiest coal-burning power plants and other facilities to release millions of tons of additional pollution into the air.

"This latest rule on NSR is just one more flagrant violation of the Clean Air Act and every court's opinion on this matter," said Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., the No. 2 senator on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"This is the single most destructive anti-clean air rule in the history of the Clean Air Act," said Vickie Patton, a senior attorney in Boulder, Colo., for New York-based Environmental Defense, an advocacy group.
The EPA issued other changes to the new source review program last December that eased pollution-control requirements for utilities, oil companies and manufacturers. But the administration said last month it would briefly reconsider parts of those new rules, after several environmental groups and states downwind from the biggest industrial sources of air pollution sued to overturn them because of concern for public health.

::: And ::: Breslin says he was ashamed to complain

::: EPA Lies to New Yorkers After Tradegy of 9-11 :::

Breslin says ...
I did not feel well for two months. I never said anything because I was too embarrassed. A couple of thousand had died. So many others were scorched and broken and maimed. I had no right to open my mouth, I thought. Besides, from the first day, the government's Environmental Protection Agency had announced that air was remarkably clean. Work on. Breathe on. You're fine.

They lied. They lied because the administration did not want people not going to work. They lied the first week and they lied the week after that and they have lied every day of the past two years to the people of this city.

The most miraculous part of these stories is the undying, absurdly loyal base of people who STILL believe everything Dubya says ... but me .... no more!!!
::: Hop in Granny's Short Haul Time Machine :::
::: TruthOut, June 6, 2003, Paul Krugman :::

:::::: Duped and Beyond :::::

Just curious if anyone knows if this ridiculous deduction still stands ... you remember ... the bait and switch Child Tax Credit that was not supposed to be ... the one Tom Delay considered unimportant. The same one which included this absurd break for business owners ... believe me it is a hummer!

Most media attention has focused on the child tax credit that wasn't. As in 2001, the administration softened the profile of a tax cut mainly aimed at the wealthy by including a credit for families with children. But at the last minute, a change in wording deprived 12 million children of some or all of that tax credit. "There are a lot of things that are more important than that," declared Tom DeLay, the House majority leader. (Maybe he was thinking of the Hummer deduction," which stayed in the bill: business owners may now deduct up to $100,000 for the cost of a vehicle, as long as it weighs at least 6,000 pounds.)

Of course, the big betrayal was George W. Bush's decision to push this tax cut in the first place. There is no longer any doubt that the man who ran as a moderate in the 2000 election is actually a radical who wants to undo much of the Great Society and the New Deal.

Look at it this way: as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, this latest tax cut reduces federal revenue as a share of G.D.P. to its lowest level since 1959. That is, federal taxes are now back to what they were in an era when Medicare and Medicaid didn't exist, and Social Security was still a minor expense. How can we maintain these programs, which have become essential to scores of millions of Americans, at today's tax rates? We can't.

Grover Norquist, the right-wing ideologue who has become one of the most powerful men in Washington, once declared: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Mr. Bush has made a pretty good start on that plan.

Hmmmm ........
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
::: More Proof ::: OR ::: Proof Positive :::
Bush is Either an Idiot or KNEW About 9-11 :::

Check out this account from Sept 11 ... and the infamous "I had seen this plane fly into the first building ... and I used to fly, myself, and I said, well there's one terrible pilot."

Bush's own recollection of the first crash only complicates the picture. Less than two months after the attacks, Bush made the preposterous claim that he had watched the first attack as it happened on live television. This is the seventh different account of how Bush learned about the first crash (in his limousine, from Loewer, from Card, from Rove, from Gottesman, from Rice, from television). On December 4, 2001, Bush was asked: "How did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?" Bush replied, "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower - the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident. But I was whisked off there, I didn't have much time to think about it." [White House, 12/4/01]

There was no film footage of the first attack until at least the following day, and Bush didn't have access to a television until 15 or so minutes later. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] The Boston Herald later noted, "Think about that. Bush's remark implies he saw the first plane hit the tower. But we all know that video of the first plane hitting did not surface until the next day. Could Bush have meant he saw the second plane hit - which many Americans witnessed? No, because he said that he was in the classroom when Card whispered in his ear that a second plane hit." [Boston Herald, 10/22/02] Bush's recollection has many precise details. Is he simply confused? It's doubly strange why his advisors didn't correct him or - at the very least - stop him from repeating the same story only four weeks later. [White House, 1/5/02, CBS, 9/11/02] On January 5, 2002, Bush stated: "Well, I was sitting in a schoolhouse in Florida ... and my Chief of Staff – well, first of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And you know, I thought it was pilot error and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake. And something was wrong with the plane..." [White House, 1/5/02]

Unfortunately, Bush has never been asked - not even once - to explain these statements. His memory not only contradicts every single media report, it also contradicts what he said that evening. In his speech to the nation that evening, Bush said: "Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans." [White House, 9/11/01] It's not known what these emergency plans were, because neither Bush nor anyone in his administration mentioned this immediate response again. Implementing "emergency response plans" seems to completely contradict Bush's "by the way" recollection of a small airplane accident.

Nuff Said, Huh

Monday, August 25, 2003
::: Badhdad Burning :::
::: A New Blog ::: The Iraqi View :::

Recently while surfing, I ran across a new blogger from Iraq. She gives an enlightening
view of what life is like for a young woman trying to survive in post war Iraq.

I could not resist and took several posts to present here in Baghad Burning

Appx August 17, 2003
The Beginning...
So this is the beginning for me, I guess. I never thought I'd start my own weblog... All I could think, every time I wanted to start one was "but who will read it?" I guess I've got nothing to lose... but I'm warning you- expect a lot of complaining and ranting. I looked for a 'rantlog' but this is the best Google came up with.

A little bit about myself: I'm female, Iraqi and 24. I survived the war. That's all you need to know. It's all that matters these days anyway.

August 17, 2003
Waking up anywhere in Iraq these days is a trial. It happens in one of two ways: either slowly, or with a jolt. The slow process works like this: you're hanging in a place on the edge of consciousness, mentally grabbing at the fading fragments of a dream

The other way to wake up, is to be jolted into reality with the sound of a gun-shot, explosion or yelling. You sit up, horrified and panicked, any dream or nightmare shattered to oblivion. What can it be? A burglar? A gang of looters? An attack? A bomb? Or maybe it's just an American midnight raid?
August 18, 2003
Another Day...
Normal day today. We were up at early morning, did the usual 'around the house things', you know- check if the water tank is full, try to determine when the electricity will be off, checked if there was enough cooking gas...

You know what really bugs me about posting on the internet, chat rooms or message boards? The first reaction (usually from Americans) is "You're lying, you're not Iraqi". Why am I not Iraqi, well because a. I have internet access (Iraqis have no internet), b. I know how to use the internet (Iraqis don't know what computers are) and c. Iraqis don't know how to speak English

August 18, 2003
How is it possible to wake up tired? It feels like I've been struggling in my sleep... struggling with nightmares, struggling with fears... struggling to listen for gunshots or tanks. I'm just so tired today. It's not the sort of 'tired' where I want to sleep- it's the sort of tired where I just want to completely shut down... put myself on standby, if you will. I think everyone feels that way lately.

Today a child was killed in Anbar, a governorate north-west of Baghdad. His name was Omar Jassim and he was no more than 10 years old, maybe 11. Does anyone hear of that? Does it matter anymore? Do they show that on Fox News or CNN? He was killed during an American raid- no one knows why. His family are devastated- nothing was taken from the house because nothing was found in the house. It was just one of those raids. People are terrified of the raids. You never know what will happen- who might be shot, who might react wrong- what exactly the wrong reaction might be... Things are getting stolen too- gold, watches, money (dollars)... That's not to say ALL the troops steal- that's unfair. It's like saying all of Iraq was out there looting. But it really is difficult having to worry about looters, murderers, gangs, militias and now American troops. I know, I know- someone is saying, "You ungrateful Iraqis! They are doing this for YOU... the raids are for YOU!" But the truth is, the raids only accomplish one thing: they act as a constant reminder that we are under occupation, we are not independent, we are not free, we are not liberated. We are no longer safe in our own homes- everything now belongs to someone else.

August 20, 2003
Sergio de Mello's death is catastrophic. We are all a little bit dazed. He was, during these last few months, the best thing that seems to have happened to Iraq. In spite of the fact that the UN was futile in stopping the war, seeing someone like de Mello gave people some sort of weak hope. It gave you the feeling that, no, the Americans couldn't run amuck in Baghdad without the watchful of eye of the international community.

Bremer is trying to link it to 'resistance' and Al-Qaeda... this is a new type of attack. *This* is terrorism, Mr.Bush... not the attack of occupying forces- that's resistance

August 21, 2003
So I just saw Al-Chalabi on tv. He was interviewed by a prominent reporter for Al-Arabiya. I missed it last night and this morning.

...... how when the INC first came into Baghdad, and began recruiting people, they seemed reasonable enough. Suddenly, they had overtaken the 'Sayd Club', a recreational club (not exclusive to the past regime) and turned the INC into a militia.

They were hijacking cars in the middle of Baghdad during April, May and June, claiming that the cars they were 'confiscating' at gunpoint were 'looted' (hence, property of Al-Chalabi?). The cars were kept in the 'headquarters' and smuggled out of Iraq and to the Kurdish territory. The nicer ones were split amongst the 'members' of the INC. Someone or another who wasn't getting a piece of the action complained to the CPA and Al-Chalabi & Co. were given a collective slap on the wrist and told not to do it again .....

August 22, 2003

Setting the Record Straight
I'm going to set the record straight, once and for all.

Although I hate the American military presence in Iraq in its current form, I don't even hate the American troops or wait, sometimes I do:

- I hated them all through the bombing. Every single day and night we had to sit in terror of the next bomb, the next plane, the next explosion. I hated them when I saw the expression of terror, and remembrance, on the faces of my family and friends, as we sat in the dark, praying for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the survival of Iraq.

- I hated them on April 28 when they shot and killed over a dozen kids and teenagers in Falloojeh- a place west of Baghdad. The American troops had taken over a local school (one of the only schools) and the kids and parents went to stand in front of the school in a peaceful demonstration. Some kids started throwing rocks at the troops, and the troops opened fire on the crowd. That incident was the beginning of bloodshed in Falloojeh.

Note: There are many other posts re the "hates" you should read on her blog!

On the other hand ...

- I feel terrible seeing the troops standing in this merciless sun- wearing heavy clothes ... looking longingly into the air-conditioned interiors of our cars. After all, in the end this is Baghdad, we're Iraqi- we've seen this heat before.

- I feel bad seeing them stand around, drinking what can only be lukewarm water after hours in the sun- too afraid to accept any proffered ice water from 'strange Iraqis'.

- I feel pity watching their confused, frightened expressions as some outraged, jobless, father of five shouts at them in a language they can't even begin to understand.

And this .... I find it shocking and embarrassing that someone would say these things to a young girl in a country under seige
Someone wrote that I was naive and probably spoiled, etc. and that not one single American soldier deserves to die for you. I completely agree. No one deserves to die for me or for anyone else.

I repeat ... for a young girl who seems blessed with a lot of courage and a great deal of common sense, I find it shameful Americans find it necessary to hurl insults. And then there is this ...

On the other hand ... they'll be back home, safe, in a month, or two or three or six and we'll be here having to cope with the mess of a homeland we have now

Some will not be back home and when they are, they will be wounded both physically and mentally and will surely suffer ... and so will she (I don't know her name and I wish I did. I seems so impersonal to call her "she.") ... for many, many years to come. Conflict is not so easily erased from young minds, or old ones for that matter. I am afraid there is a very long and difficult road ahead for the Iraqi people ... it takes tens of years to create a society based on freedom. And freedom is such an odd word with many definitions. Freedom is a awesome responsibility and many newly formed democratic (or republic as America actually is) states find the struggle harsh and violent. As an American who lives in a country where we at least enjoy the grand illision of freedom, I think it is worth the struggle. (Stepping down off soap box now!)

August 23, 2003

We've Only Just Begun...
Females can no longer leave their homes alone. Each time I go out, E. and either a father, uncle or cousin has to accompany me. It feels like we’ve gone back 50 years ever since the beginning of the occupation. A woman, or girl, out alone, risks anything from insults to abduction. An outing has to be arranged at least an hour beforehand. I state that I need to buy something or have to visit someone. Two males have to be procured (preferably large) and 'safety arrangements' must be made in this total state of lawlessness. And always the question: "But do you have to go out and buy it? Can't I get it for you?"

Before the war, around 50% of the college students were females, and over 50% of the working force was composed of women. Not so anymore. We are seeing an increase of fundamentalism in Iraq which is terrifying.
I am female and Muslim. Before the occupation, I more or less dressed the way I wanted to. I lived in jeans and cotton pants and comfortable shirts. Now, I don’t dare leave the house in pants. A long skirt and loose shirt (preferably with long sleeves) has become necessary. A girl wearing jeans risks being attacked, abducted or insulted by fundamentalists who have been… liberated!
.... dark, frowning figures stand ogling, leering and sometimes jeering at the ones not wearing a hijab or whose skirts aren’t long enough. In some areas, girls risk being attacked with acid if their clothes aren’t ‘proper’.

The SCIRI would like to give the impression that they have the full support of all Shi’a Muslims in Iraq. The truth is that many Shi’a Muslims are terrified of them and of the consequences of having them as a ruling power. Al-Hakim was responsible for torturing and executing Iraqi POWs in Iran all through the Iran-Iraq war and after. Should SCIRI govern Iraq, I imagine the first step would be to open the borders with Iran and unite the two countries. Bush can then stop referring to the two countries as a part of his infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ and can just begin calling us the ‘Big Lump of Evil and Bad North Korea’ (which seems more in accord with his limited linguistic abilities).

Ever since entering Iraq, Al-Hakim has been blackmailing the CPA in Baghdad with his ‘major Shi’a following’. He entered Iraq escorted by ‘Jaysh Badir’ or ‘Badir’s Army’. This ‘army’ is composed of thousands of Iraqi extremists led by Iranian extremists and trained in Iran. All through the war, they were lurking on the border, waiting for a chance to slip inside. In Baghdad, and the south, they have been a source of terror and anxiety to Sunnis, Shi’a and Christians alike. They, and some of their followers, were responsible for a large portion of the looting and the burning (you’d think they were going to get reconstruction contracts…). They were also responsible for hundreds of religious and political abductions and assassinations.

Someone asked me if, through elections, the Iraqi people might vote for an Islamic state. Six months ago, I would have firmly said, “No.” Now, I’m not so sure. There’s been an overwhelming return to fundamentalism. People are turning to religion for several reasons.

The first and most prominent reason is fear. Fear of war, fear of death and fear of a fate worse than death (and yes, there are fates worse than death). If I didn’t have something to believe in during this past war, I know I would have lost my mind. If there hadn’t been a God to pray to, to make promises to, to bargain with, to thank- I wouldn’t have made it through

I don't know about anyone else, but I find this quite an eye opener re women's issues. We need to get our collective act together and get security handled .. get on with the reconstruction ... before the whole process loses the American as well as the Iraqi people. For the life of me I cannot understand either Rummy or Bush's position on the insertion of more troops and on going to the UN for a resolution ... which Turkey and India insist on before sending troops. If I can get my TinFoil Hat settled ... there ... ok ... so does it not seem to anyone else that our government is running all over the world creating chaos, confusion and conflict ... is that not what the NWO Fools plan ... to destroy the independence of all states ... and unite the world under the World Gov. I guess that is supposed to go along with the World Army (NATO), World Bank, World Health Org. etc ... meanwhile, they work in secret on black projects such as HAARP in Alaska, projects which promise NO benefits to anyone but the Elite, Corporate Snake-A-Roos ... whew... TinFoil Hats off!

Finally, you have more direct reasons. 65% of all Iraqis are currently unemployed for one reason or another. There are people who have families to feed. When I say ‘families’ I don’t mean a wife and 2 kids… I mean around 16 or 17 people.

So there ... it is late and I am tired and the pharmacy will be humming tomorrow as usual.... there is much more to read on Baghad Burning, so please visit and for lord's sake, do not behave like vitrolic idiots.

Sorry, I know none of the RTB would ever do such a thing....

Thursday, August 21, 2003
::: This is What Bush Has Delivered in Iraq :::

Americans need to really LOOK at what is happening in Iraq.
Warning: This is graphic video.

This video is NOT a sanatized view of the UN Bombing

Editor's Note: A press conference was taking place in the UN facility in Baghdad when the bombing took place. The following is a video capturing the moment of the attack, and the chaos that followed. Please be warned that the footage is graphic and disturbing. We at truthout believe this footage must be seen, however, so that a full understanding of the effects of our policies in Iraq can be gained.

Sunday, August 17, 2003
::: Finally ~ Answers on the Black Out in New York :::

Thanks to Greg Palast we now have all the skinny on how this happened, who started
it, why it started, who brought it forward and who is responsible now...thanks Greg!

Power Outage Traced to Dim Bulb in White House
The Tale of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York,
Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our Lights
Greg Palast

And now ... just a couple or three tidbits to whet your appetite:

Really quickly (cause I am hungry and you can click and read yourself) now.

1 - Power companys regulated since FDR who was super serious about it
and made sure we had lots of continuous cheap power -- or else

2 - During 1980's Niagra Mohawk Power Company (NiMo) built costly,
piece of junk nuke plant - Nine Mile Island - began charging NY ratepayers
outrageous rates by doing a "Harry Potter" on the books.

3 - In 1988, Greg Palast, then an investigator of corporate racketeers,
showed a jury a memo from exec to partner, Long Island Lighting (LILCO)
on how to lie to the gov regulators.

4 - Stuff hits fan - LILCO had to pay $4.3 billion - it put them out of business.

5 - Next all the sleeze power companies (all book cookers) got together to
swear never to break the regs again - i.e. ELIMINATE the rules. It had a

6 - The rats knew the scheme would not fly in U.S., so approached the dereg-
queen, Margaret Thatcher, in 1990. It was a devious little group called ENRON.
Thatcher licensed the first deregulated power plant.

So there .... Stage is set - and this straight from Greg:

But then came George the First. In 1992, just prior to his departure from the White House, President Bush Senior gave the power industry one long deep-through-the-teeth kiss good-bye: federal deregulation of electricity. It was a legacy he wanted to leave for his son, the gratitude of power companies which ponied up $16 million for the Republican campaign of 2000, seven times the sum they gave Democrats.

But Poppy Bush's gift of deregulating of wholesale prices set by the feds only got the power pirates halfway to the plunder of Joe Ratepayer. For the big payday they needed deregulation at the state level. There were only two states, California and Texas, big enough and Republican enough to put the electricity market con into operation.

California fell first. The power companies spent $39 million to defeat a 1998 referendum pushed by Ralph Nadar which would have blocked the de-reg scam. Another $37 million was spent on lobbying and lubricating the campaign coffers of the state's politicians to write a lie into law: in the deregulation act's preamble, the Legislature promised that deregulation would reduce electricity bills by 20%. In fact, when in the first California city to go "lawless," San Diego, the 20% savings became a 300% jump in surcharges.

Enron circled California and licked its lips. As the number one contributor to the George W. Bush campaigns, it was confident about the future. With just a half dozen other companies it controlled at times 100% of the available power capacity needed to keep the Golden State lit. Their motto, "your money or your lights."

Enron and its comrades played the system like a broken ATM machine, yanking out the bills. For example, in the shamelessly fixed "auctions" for electricity held by the state, Enron bid, in one instance, to supply 500 megawatts of electricity over a 15 megawatt line. That's like pouring a gallon of gasoline into a thimble -- the lines would burn up if they attempted it. Faced with blackout because of Enron's destructive bid, the state was willing to pay anything to keep the lights on.

Enter Clinton ----

...... between May and November 2000, three power giants physically or "economically" withheld power from the state and concocted enough false bids to cost the California customers over $6.2 billion in excess charges.

It took until December 20, 2000, with the lights going out on the Golden Gate, for President Bill Clinton, once a deregulation booster, to find his lost Democratic soul and impose price caps in California and ban Enron from the market.

But the light-bulb buccaneers didn't have to wait long to put their hooks back into the treasure chest. Within seventy-two hours of moving into the White House, while he was still sweeping out the inaugural champagne bottles, George Bush the Second reversed Clinton's executive order and put the power pirates back in business in California. Enron, Reliant (aka Houston Industries), TXU (aka Texas Utilities) and the others who had economically snipped California's wires knew they could count on Dubya, who as governor of the Lone Star state cut them the richest deregulation deal in America.

Meanwhile, the deregulation bug made it to New York where Republican Governor George Pataki and his industry-picked utility commissioners ripped the lid off electric bills and relieved my old friends at Niagara Mohawk of the expensive obligation to properly fund the maintenance of the grid system.

And the Pataki-Bush Axis of Weasels permitted something that must have former New York governor Roosevelt spinning in his wheelchair in Heaven: They allowed a foreign company, the notoriously incompetent National Grid of England, to buy up NiMo, get rid of 800 workers and pocket most of their wages - producing a bonus for NiMo stockholders approaching $90 million.

Gotta go eat now .... but I think you should scroll back up top and click and
read the rest .... stuff like

So ... the free-market British buckaroos controlling Niagara Mohawk raised prices, slashed staff, cut maintenance and CLICK! -- New York joins Brazil in the Dark Ages.
Saturday, August 16, 2003
::: Why America HAS To Have The Oil :::

Brain Food -- Third Quarter, 1999
by Jay Hanson --

{One should bear in mind that since this comes from the fabled ... Might be a good idea to break out the TinFoil Hats}
::: Also bearing in mind Clinton was President at this time.

Read All About it Here

According to the information I have been reading ... and I mean from all sorts of
studies on the subject ... from Gov agencies, conspiracy theorists, scientists,
IHS Energy Group (formerly Petroconsultants)

By 2010, Muslim nations could control 60 percent of the world's oil production and, more importantly, 95 percent of the world's oil exports. In short, the Muslim exporting nations have Western economies by the throat.

One hundred years ago, fundamentally defective economic theories led to two world wars with millions killed. Today, the same defective economic theories are taught to students all over the world and are leading to a new generation of world wars with billions killed.

America will soon lose the stability the framers worked so hard to create because it is becoming wholly dependent upon inherently unstable (authoritarian) oil-producing Muslim nations like Indonesia. It happened twenty-five years ago when OPEC quadrupled world oil prices and plunged America into "stagflation". Fortunately, the non-OPEC producers still had a HUGE unexploited oil cushion to fall back on and simply pumped central bankers out of their economic crisis.

But that was 1973 and this is 1999 -- twenty-five years later the oil cushion is gone. Muslim nations will soon control virtually all of the world’s oil exports. Since neither capital nor labor can create energy, the next round of energy-shortage-induced stagflation will leave central bankers helpless and they will seek military solutions to their economic problems.

It's the best-kept secret in Washington, Whitehall, Brussels, and Jerusalem, but it's just a matter of time until word hits the street…

The United States is physically unable to produce enough oil domestically to keep its economy alive and is forced to rely on imports. In 1998, the United States imported 53 percent of its oil needs. This deficit is growing -- and will continue to grow until the economy collapses exactly like it did twenty-five years ago. What's utterly amazing is that even though these data are available for everyone to see on the BP Amoco web site -- and in every major library for non-surfers -- there's nobody in the Oval Office who seems to know how to search the web (or the library)? Even our "environmentalist VP" -- who claims to have "invented" the Internet -- is apparently unable (or unwilling) to access BP's database

By a hundred years ago, physics had incorporated the laws of thermodynamics. Obviously, energy laws that govern the physical world also govern the economic world. Physical scientists attempted to point out this crucial fact to economists:

"It is, in fact, the fate of all kinds of energy of position to be ultimately converted into energy of motion. The former may be compared to money in a bank, or capital, the latter to money which we are in the act of spending ... If we pursue the analogy a step further, we shall see that the great capitalist is respected because he has the disposal of a great quantity of energy; and that whether he be nobleman or sovereign, or a general in command, he is powerful only from having something which enables him to make use of the services of others. When a man of wealth pays a labouring man to work for him, he is in truth converting so much of his energy of position into actual energy...The world of mechanism is not a manufactory, in which energy is created, but rather a mart, into which we may bring energy of one kind and change or barter it for an equivalent of another kind, that suits us better -- but if we come with nothing in hand, with nothing we will most assuredly return." [Balfour Stewart, 1883] [20]

But economists never understood the laws of thermodynamics because they evolved to worship the Market God instead.

~~~Warning ~ Brain Vomit Coming Up~~~
So there .... looks like we are in deep doodie and the funny part is months
before the Iraq War, I remember telling one of my friends I had been reading
some papers on the energy supply and had come to the conclusion ~~~~

America HAS to have the OIL ... we have no choice if we plan to continue
living as we do today.

Then Bush and Company went on the SELL to the American people about
the Iraq War ... and being one of the Americans he was trying to SELL,
I got pissed off. At that time, I knew he was not telling us the truth, and
I even remembered tell Charlie we had to have the oil, but listening to
all the rhetoric on the nightly news ... I guess I pushed it into the back-

I do believe the studies and I do believe we are near the end of having
the kind of oil supply we think we need (and I sure want it like everyone
else). But as I look down the road, I am hoping we can break the barriers
on the really incredible technology hidden by the Oil Barrons and save
ourselves. Of course, if we are talking about Zero Point or Free Energy
and it became a reality tomorrow, it would still take down the economy.
And all the starving third worlders will be soooooo mad we have let
them flounder in poverty, disease and without proper food or water.

Now ... another thought is what they plan to do with the Driected Energy
Weapons they are developing - Classified, of course - Could be we are
just using HAARP in Alaska to work on the Missile Shield. On the other
hand, we could be planning to ZAP the Oil-Rich Countries with the Tesla
Death Ray or just EMP all thier technology, strangle the locals and take
the oil. But we are sure gonna need one heck of a lot more troops for
that job, don't cha know.

Rats-A-Mundo ....What to do, what to do???

Final thought from Yergin ...

WHATEVER THE TWISTS AND TURNS in global politics, whatever the ebb of imperial power and the flow of national pride, one trend in the decades following World War II progressed in a straight and rapidly ascending line -- the consumption of oil. If it can be said, in the abstract, that the sun energized the planet, it was oil that now powered its human population, both in its familiar forms as fuel and in the proliferation of new petrochemical products. Oil emerged triumphant, the undisputed King, a monarch garbed in a dazzling array of plastics. He was generous to his loyal subjects, sharing his wealth to, and even beyond, the point of waste. His reign was a time of confidence, of growth, of expansion, of astonishing economic performance. His largesse transformed his kingdom, ushering in a new drive-in civilization. It was the Age of Hydrocarbon Man.
-- Daniel Yergin, 1992. [1]

::: America Did Not Use Napalm In Iraq :::

Well, that is comforting ... except we did use something called a "Mark 77 firebomb."

Results are 'remarkably similar' to using napalm

"We napalmed both those (bridge) approaches," said Col. James Alles in a recent interview. He commanded Marine Air Group 11, based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, during the war. "Unfortunately, there were people there because you could see them in the (cockpit) video.
During the war, Pentagon spokesmen disputed reports that napalm was being used, saying the Pentagon's stockpile had been destroyed two years ago.
Hundreds of partially loaded Mark 77 firebombs were stored on pre-positioned ammunition ships overseas, Marine Corps officials said. Those ships were unloaded in Kuwait during the weeks preceding the war.

"You can call it something other than napalm, but it's napalm," said John Pike, defense analyst with, a nonpartisan research group in Alexandria, Va.

Thanks to the Pentagon for clearing that up .... hooah!
::: Most Iraqis Hate The U.S. Occupiers As Much As Saddam :::
After Reading This, I Hate us Too ::: War On Truth


Every day now, in the United States, the all-pervasive media tell Americans that their bloodletting in Iraq is well under way, although the true scale of the attacks is almost certainly concealed. Soon, more soldiers will have been killed since the "liberation" than during the invasion. Sustaining the myth of "mission" is becoming difficult, as in Vietnam. This is not to doubt the real achievement of the invaders' propaganda, which was the suppression of the truth that most Iraqis opposed both the regime of Saddam Hussein and the Anglo-American assault on their homeland. One reason the BBC's Andrew Gilligan angered Downing Street was that he reported that, for many Iraqis, the bloody invasion and occupation were at least as bad as the fallen dictatorship.

This is unmentionable here in America. The tens of thousands of Iraqi dead and maimed do not exist. When I interviewed Douglas Feith, number three to Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, he shook his head and lectured me on the "precision" of American weapons. His message was that war had become a bloodless science in the service of America's unique divinity. It was like interviewing a priest. Only American "boys" and "girls" suffer, and at the hands of "Ba'athist remnants", a self-deluding term in the spirit of General Maude's "miscreants". The media echo this, barely gesturing at the truth of a popular resistance and publishing galleries of GI amputees, who are described with a maudlin, down-home chauvinism which celebrates the victimhood of the invader while casting the vicious imperialism that they served as benign. At the State Department, the under-secretary for international security, John Bolton, suggested to me that, for questioning the fundamentalism of American policy, I was surely a heretic, "a Communist Party member", as he put it.

As for the great human catastrophe in Iraq, the bereft hospitals, the children dying from thirst and gastroenteritis at a rate greater than before the invasion, with almost 8 per cent of infants suffering extreme malnutrition, says Unicef; as for a crisis in agriculture which, says the Food and Agriculture Organisation, is on the verge of collapse: these do not exist. Like the American-driven, medieval-type siege that destroyed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives over 12 years, there is no knowledge of this in America: therefore it did not happen. The Iraqis are, at best, unpeople; at worst, tainted, to be hunted. "For every GI killed," said a letter given prominence in the New York Daily News late last month, "20 Iraqis must be executed." In the past week, Task Force 20, an "elite" American unit charged with hunting evildoers, murdered at least five people as they drove down a street in Baghdad, and that was typical.

::: Re Jessica Lynch, who probably wants to go crawl into a hole! :::

The august New York Times and Washington Post are not, of course, as crude as the News and Murdoch. However, on 23 July, both papers gave front-page prominence to the government's carefully manipulated "homecoming" of 20-year-old Private Jessica Lynch, who was injured in a traffic accident during the invasion and captured. She was cared for by Iraqi doctors, who probably saved her life and who risked their own lives in trying to return her to American forces. The official version, that she bravely fought off Iraqi attackers, is a pack of lies, like her "rescue" (from an almost deserted hospital), which was filmed with night-vision cameras by a Hollywood director. All this is known in Washington, and much of it has been reported.

This did not deter the best and worst of American journalism uniting to help stage-manage her beatific return to Elizabeth, West Virginia, with the Times reporting the Pentagon's denial of "embellishing" and that "few people seemed to care about the controversy". According to the Post, the whole affair had been "muddied by conflicting media accounts". George Orwell described this as "words falling upon the facts like soft snow, blurring their outlines and covering up all the details". Thanks to the freest press on earth, most Americans, according to a national poll, believe Iraq was behind the 11 September attacks. "We have been the victims of the biggest cover-up manoeuvre of all time," says Jane Harman, a rare voice in Congress. But that, too, is an illusion.


::: Office Of Special Plans :::

Most of the lies were channelled straight to Downing Street from the 24-hour Office of Global Communications in the White House. Many were the invention of a highly secret unit in the Pentagon, called the Office of Special Plans, which "sexed up" raw intelligence, much of it uttered by Tony Blair. It was here that many of the most famous lies about weapons of mass destruction were "crafted". On 9 July, Donald Rumsfeld said, with a smile, that America never had "dramatic new evidence" and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz earlier revealed that the "issue of weapons of mass destruction" was "for bureaucratic reasons" only, "because it was the one reason [for invading Iraq] that everyone could agree on."

The Blair government's attacks on the BBC make sense as part of this. They are not only a distraction from Blair's criminal association with the Bush gang, though for a less than obvious reason. As the astute American media commentator Danny Schechter points out, the BBC's revenues have grown to $5.6bn; more Americans watch the BBC in America than watch BBC1 in Britain; and what Murdoch and the other ascendant TV conglomerates have long wanted is the BBC "checked, broken up, even privatised . . . All this money and power will likely become the target for Blair government regulators and the merry men of Ofcom, who want to contain public enterprises and serve those avaricious private businesses who would love to slice off some of the BBC's market share." As if on cue, Tessa Jowell, the British Culture Secretary, questioned the renewal of the BBC's charter.

The irony of this, says Schechter, is that the BBC was always solidly pro-war. He cites a comprehensive study by Media Tenor, the non-partisan institute that he founded, which analysed the war coverage of some of the world's leading broadcasters and found that the BBC allowed less dissent than all of them, including the US networks. A study by Cardiff University found much the same. More often than not, the BBC amplified the inventions of the lie machine in Washington, such as Iraq's non-existent attack on Kuwait with scuds. And there was Andrew Marr's memorable victory speech outside 10 Downing Street: "[Tony Blair] said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both those points he has been proved conclusively right."

Almost every word of that was misleading or nonsense. Studies now put the death toll at as many as 10,000 civilians and 20,000 Iraqi troops. If this does not constitute a "bloodbath", what was the massacre of 3,000 people at the twin towers?

Americans, says Time magazine, live in "an eternal present". The point is, they have no choice. The "mainstream" media are now dominated by Rupert Murdoch's Fox television network, which had a good war. The Federal Communications Commission, run by Colin Powell's son Michael, is finally to deregulate television so that Fox and four other conglomerates control 90 per cent of the terrestrial and cable audience. Moreover, the leading 20 internet sites are now owned by the likes of Fox, Disney, AOL Time Warner and a clutch of other giants. Just 14 companies attract 60 per cent of the time all American web-users spend online.


And there is much more ... on America's bloody covert operations and the trail of lies manufactured and spoon fed to the American people through which ever "media" was under the government's thumb ... from "Remember The Maine" to "We Will Never Forget" to "Bring 'em On"

::: This article is well worth the read and is guaranteed to get yer dander up :::

:::Ok, NOW ::: Back To Bush and the Pentagon Screwing The Troops :::

Get this tidbit ...

Friday, August 15, 2003

Troops could lose raise in combat pay
Sparking outrage, military says increase is too costly


WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon wants to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, who already are contending with guerrilla-style attacks, homesickness and 120-degree-plus heat.

Unless Congress and President Bush take quick action when Congress returns after Labor Day, the uniformed Americans in Iraq and the 9,000 troops in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase approved in April of $75 a month in "imminent-danger pay" and $150 a month in "family separation allowances."

The Defense Department says its budget can't sustain the higher payments amid a host of other priorities. But the proposed cuts have stirred anger among military families and veterans' groups and even prompted an editorial attack in the Army Times, a weekly newspaper for military personnel and their families that is seldom so outspoken.

"It's all part of the lie of the Bush administration, that they say they support our troops," she said.

It's rare for the independent Army Times, which is distributed widely among Army personnel, to blast the Pentagon, the White House and Congress. But in this instance, the paper has said in recent editorials that Congress was wrong to make the pay raises temporary, and the Pentagon is wrong to call for a rollback.

"The bottom line: If the Bush administration felt in April that conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan warranted increases in danger pay and family-separation allowances, it cannot plausibly argue that the higher rates are not still warranted today," the paper said in an editorial

Cowardly Snakes!!! I Want to see every one of those low life, arrogant turkeys in Washington sweating in the broiling Iraqi sun ... with only 3 litters of water daily, still eating MREs, under fire constantly, dust in every pore of their skin ... YES!! All of them ... Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Card, Poindexter, Ashcroft, Libby, Feith, Bolton, ETC.

Friday, August 15, 2003
::: Fox News NOT Fair & Balanced

Ok, while I was listening to all the coverage of the Black Out, I was flipping
channels and landed on the dreaded Faux News. And what do you think
they were reporting: Doom & Gloom

Yep ... it was all about how vulnerable we are, all the obvious weakness in
our infrastructure, cause our nuke plants are not safe and our water supply
is vulnerable and our ports are not safe and the border security sucks and
how much more $$ we needed to spend on Homeland Security to be more

Yadata, Yadata, Yadata. And There Could Death Rays From Mars!

When their consultant was asked about the Energy Bill stuck in Congress
for so long and why it had not passed, he glossed right over the fact that
Bush has his Alaska Drilling plan stuffed in the middle of the Bill ... the
consultant said it was "just politics."

Yet ... on all the other cable channels, most were praising the residents
of New York for their kindness and courtsey and how everyone was
performing heroic acts in helping others. Indeed, when I saw the
video of thousands of people inching down the streets on foot, and
bottlenecked at the dock trying to get on ferries, I was sure there
would be at the very least ... rudeness, not to mention the "concert
stampede syndrome."

And these comments were repeated in other cities as well, even though
there were a few incidents in most towns.

One of my favorites spots in the news today was when the reporters
told Iraqis the power was out in New York and many other cities. The
reactions were mixed. One fellow said, "we have been living like this
for 35 years and they are complaining about a few hours?" And the
other man interviewed kept saying, "Power is out in New York? No,
that is not true. No America is rich country, they can do ... no that
is not true." (or something close... not a direct quote but the gist is
he was not believing it at all)

One of the announcers said tonight, "New Yorkers are tough, we will
make it fine."

And my first thought was, "True, but I suggest AMERICANS are tough,
and we will make it fine."

For you see, for all of Granny's investigation, and interest in all things
conspiratorial, no matter what nefarious plot seems to be
true and it follows we should investigate more and stay on the Neo-Dubyas
butts ... I just cannot get an 8 X 10 of Americans just laying down to
anyone coming to take our country, our freedom or our lives.

We will jump right up off our fat duffs, winded for sure, and
fight like mad to preserve our way of life. Yep, it is too great
to let slip away."

USA...USA...USA...USA...USA...USA...USA...USA... USA...USA...USA...USA...

Thursday, August 14, 2003
::: Ok Ok, I Know I Said Back To the Troops :::
::: BUT ::: Had To Do The Inquiring Minds Thing :::

Just a few conversational questions.

Wonder how long it will be before we can shame the media into at least a pretense
of truthful coverage?
::: Afghanistan Slipping Into Hell

Does anyone wonder? ... I mean, I understand fully why the "rich" love Dubya,
but I am at a loss to understand why ordinary American Republicans are still
denying the obvious ... the White House is running over with lying snakes.
::: Thank You Molly Ivins - Lies Revealed
::: William Rivers Pitt "We Stand Our Ground"
::: William Rivers Pitt "We Stand Our Ground" ~ Audio<
::: "...A Pack Of Lies"
::: We said OSB, Dead or Alive, Now Its "It doesn't Matter"
::: Pentagon Officials Deny Using Napalm in Iraq ~ And its Sorta True

With all the evidence being presented lately, how can anyone think the country
is doing great?
::: What If Gore Is Right -"Millions of Americans now share a feeling that something pretty basic has gone wrong with our country"

Does anyone think we can find a canidate that has a prayer of cleaning up
this mess created by the Neocons?

Boy, that last one is up for grabs folks. What are we going to do?
Who can help us? When will we start?

::: Finally ~ That Old Devil Dog Poindexter Resigns :::
::: Taking Just A Minute ::: Twist And Shout :::

My advice is watch the backdoor

Poindexter Resigns but Defends Programs
Anti-Terrorism, Data Scanning Efforts at Pentagon Called Victims of Ignorance
By Bradley Graham
The Washington Post

Wednesday 13 August 2003

John M. Poindexter took issue yesterday with critics of his Pentagon efforts to develop new data scanning systems and an online futures market for flushing out terrorists and predicting Middle East developments, saying the programs had fallen victim to ignorance, distortion and Washington's "highly-charged political environment."

In a letter of resignation ending a controversial 20-month Pentagon tenure, Poindexter pressed his case for employing new technologies to discern terrorists' plans in such everyday transactions as credit card purchases, travel reservations and e-mail. He said innovative approaches are needed to overcome the historic barriers among U.S. intelligence agencies and gain access to stores of information not available to the government.


The five-page letter, submitted yesterday and made available to The Washington Post, provided Poindexter's first opportunity to address critics after being ordered by Pentagon officials last autumn to avoid public comment because, he was told, he had become too much of a "lightning rod."


His departure was demanded by lawmakers who questioned his judgment as well as his regard for privacy issues, and who argued that Poindexter's history as a central participant in the Iran-contra affair of the 1980s made him a poor choice to manage such a politically sensitive project.

"I was not anxious to come back into government," Poindexter wrote his boss, Anthony Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), "but in discussions with you and others concluded that was probably the best way to explore research and development of information technologies and concepts to help solve the enormous problems of combating terrorism." He added that he had wanted to step down "for months now" but had stayed longer at Tether's request.

"I regret we have not been able to make our case clear and reassure the public that we do not intend to spy on them," he wrote, adding that he had "done all that I can do under the circumstances" and so would be leaving on Aug. 29.

The letter contained no acknowledgement of personal error. In the case of the futures trading plan, he said, an unauthorized decision by an outside contractor -- the small California firm Net Exchange -- to post "some extremely bad examples" on the program's Web site gave critics ammunition to distort the effort as a proposed market in terrorism. The examples included the possibility of betting on the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat or the overthrow of Jordan's monarchy.


Getting the DARPA job in January 2002 had been something of a comeback for Poindexter. He was national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-contra scandal, in which sales of arms to Iran were used to finance rebels fighting in Nicaragua at a time such assistance was banned by Congress.

Poindexter was convicted in 1990 on five felony counts, including lying to Congress, destroying documents and obstructing congressional inquiries into the affair. Although the conviction was overturned in 1991 -- on grounds that Poindexter had been granted immunity from prosecution as a result of his testimony before Congress -- it still troubled many in Congress.

So there .... Full Article

Hope this means D.A.R.P.A. is headed down the poop shute:
Read more on Poindexter.
And Theres This on Poindexter

Baby steps, but we are allowed a slight smile .... now ... back to the Troup Abuse, Pentagon Lies and Liars and our desire to see them ride off into the sunset.

::: Department Of Defense Is Treating Our Soldiers Like Garbage :::
::: OR ::: The More I Get to Know Them, The More I Hate Them :::

This post was so dreadful, Granny just had to bring it over from
post by Joe Fish on Democratic Veteran ~~ Credit where credit is due
~~ path was through SouthKnoxBubba ~~ Thanks Guys, Great Work


Dead Soldier, Family Punk'd by 1600 Crew

I had to wait until my rage subsided enough to blog this. The story is via Thousand Yard Glare, one of my daily reads.

The outrage, well, you read it then tell me The original story is here.

One of the most surprising statements to come from The Power Hour interview conducted on “The Genesis Network” was that while the son, Josh Neusche, was a healthy young soldier on June 26, 2003, when he reported that he was going to serve on the secret hauling mission, by July 1, 2003, he was in a coma, and that day was suddenly classified by the military, as medically retired from the Army without Josh or his family’s consent. Josh did not die until July 12, 2003. Among other problems that this new classification created was that the DOD was no longer obligated to assist the family in getting to Germany to be with their son as he lay in a coma. Because the DOD would not provide even so much as plane or taxi fare for the Neusche family, all 650 members of the 203 Engineer Battalion each contributed $10.00 to make the family’s final visit possible. (some emphasis added)I can't even begin to imagine how my family would have felt if that were me. I can't imagine Senior Army leadership (of the Uniformed variety) breaking the faith with the troops like that. I can imagine some civilian DoD NeoCon chickenhawk deciding that it's more cost-effective to reclassify the kid as medically retired, since his prognosis is terminal, and dump him in a hole in the ground in Germany and send his family a letter "blah blah blah...honorable....grateful nation...blah blah blah".

It makes me proud to see the soldiers in his battalion got his parents over there. It's wrong on so many levels that they even had to consider doing that, much less do it; but that's what soldiers do they take care of their own. Something Chickenhawks will never, ever understand.

I hope all the tax-cutting shithead Chickenhawks and non-Chickenhawks out there are justly proud of this bit o'thrift. And that you choke on your money...all of it.

We have had two residents of the Oval Office in the last 10 years. The wrong one got impeached.

Granny agrees completely Fish and just had to jump in. I have been searching around a bit since I tracked over to this post on SKB, plus I had already printed out several outrageous items from TruthOut. Might as well do the "eye openers" in consecutive posts. It makes for

posted by Jo Fish on 08.12.03 at 04:56 PM

And ~~~ It just keeps getting better and better for the troops according to Paul Krugman on TruthOut

In his article he blames Military Privatization ~~ War On The Cheap!

It seems the same Horse's Ass DoD is to blame, trying to run their noble liberation OIL GRABBING Operation on the cheap.

Krugman details a litany of woes.

A few days ago I talked to a soldier just back from Iraq. He'd been in a relatively calm area; his main complaint was about food. Four months after the fall of Baghdad, his unit was still eating the dreaded M.R.E.'s: meals ready to eat. When Italian troops moved into the area, their food was "way more realistic" - and American troops were soon trading whatever they could for some of that Italian food.

Other stories are far worse. Letters published in Stars and Stripes and e-mail published on the Web site of Col. David Hackworth (a decorated veteran and Pentagon critic) describe shortages of water. One writer reported that in his unit, "each soldier is limited to two 1.5-liter bottles a day," and that inadequate water rations were leading to "heat casualties." An American soldier died of heat stroke on Saturday; are poor supply and living conditions one reason why U.S. troops in Iraq are suffering such a high rate of noncombat deaths?

Colonel Hackworth blames "dilettantes in the Pentagon" who "thought they could run a war and an occupation on the cheap." But the cheapness isn't restricted to Iraq. In general, the "support our troops" crowd draws the line when that support might actually cost something.

The usually conservative Army Times has run blistering editorials on this subject. Its June 30 blast, titled "Nothing but Lip Service," begins: "In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap - and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the
nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately." The article goes on to detail a series of promises broken and benefits cut.

Military corner-cutting is part of a broader picture of penny-wise-pound-foolish government. When it comes to tax cuts or subsidies to powerful interest groups, money is no object. But elsewhere, including homeland security, small-government ideology reigns. The Bush administration has been unwilling to spend enough on any aspect of homeland security, whether it's providing firefighters and police officers with radios or protecting the nation's ports. The decision to pull air marshals off some flights to save on hotel bills - reversed when the public heard about it - was simply a sound-bite-worthy example. (Air marshals have told that a "witch hunt" is now under way at the Transportation Security Administration, and that those who reveal cost-cutting measures to the media are being threatened with the Patriot Act.)

There's also another element in the Iraq logistical snafu: privatization. The U.S. military has shifted many tasks traditionally performed by soldiers into the hands of such private contractors as Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary. The Iraq war and its aftermath gave this privatized system its first major test in combat - and the system failed.

According to the Newhouse News Service, "U.S. troops in Iraq suffered through months of unnecessarily poor living conditions because some civilian contractors hired by the Army for logistics support failed to show up." Not surprisingly, civilian contractors - and their insurance companies - get spooked by war zones. The Financial Times reports that the dismal performance of contractors in Iraq has raised strong concerns about what would happen in a war against a serious opponent, like North Korea

These stories and many more to come are just a speck of the extent to which the American people are being deceived by the smart guys in Washington. More ghastly stories on the way.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
::: Someone Who Pisses Me Off More Than Coulter :::

Katherine Harris Holds Nazi Town Meeting

BRADENTON - U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris had planned a quick town meeting Thursday
night at Bradenton Kiwanis Hall.

But when hundreds of people showed up with detailed questions, her tight schedule didn't
allow detailed answers, and a frustrated crowd turned angry, booing the congresswoman
several times.


The crowd's mood already was testy before the meeting began. Security guards and
Harris' staff confiscated any written material people tried to bring into the hall.

The confiscated literature included analysis of the Medicare prescription bills passed
in the House and Senate in June as well as a chart showing Harris' voting record
since she began her term in January.


Pat Benson of Bradenton said she had never been at a town meeting where
literature was confiscated at the door.


"We are not taking anything away," McKee said. "All of the material is still
here and they can pick it up when they leave. They just can't take it into
the hall. The ethics laws do not allow us to let them take it in. We have to
be very, very careful that there are no laws broken with our member
(of Congress)."

Horse Hockey ~~~ Terrific Post Bubba! ~~~

::: Warning For Dog / Cat Owners :::

This was in response to SayUncle's post: This is really awful --->

Hagerstown residents who own pit bulls would have to register them with the Hagerstown Police Department within 60 days or risk losing them under an ordinance Police Chief Arthur Smith on Tuesday asked the Hagerstown City Council to adopt.
Under the proposal, there would be only one 60-day period during which pit bulls could be registered.

At the close of the registration period, pit bulls could not legally be moved into Hagerstown, and unregistered pit bulls already in the city would be illegal.

In both cases, the owners would be required to forfeit the animals to the city, Smith said.

::: My Response ~~ Had to Lighten Up a Bit :::>

I am so tenderhearted about animals, I cannot watch some of the awful stuff they put on TV.

At the height of the SARS epidemic, I even got upset when they showed all the caged animals in China ... the live ones at the markets to be sold for food. They looked so terrified and helpless.

Cold dead hands about sums it up ... just try to get my babies away from me. Besides, I like animals much better than people and way better than kids ... at least they don't talk as much and they are more honest. (Well, sometimes a mite sneaky for a treat or an unguarded steak.)

Wow forgot about BlackCat who lept onto the counter and absconded with a half-raw steak right out of the pan... scorched his paws too, the little devil. But that was a long time ago.

I am a bit mad when it comes to animals, I suppose. You should have seen my husband's face when I suggested a Deer rang the doorbell the other night at 2 am.

Don't laugh, RedCat (I know ... I am super inventive and original when naming pets) is too short and besides, he is blind and probably too arthritic to jump that high. And something sure rang the bell ... twice. When I went to the door and turned on the porch light, RedCat was standing there looking out off the porch so ... all I know to do is cue the Twilight Zone Music.

Warn all cat owners! There have been recent reports that cats have been involved in secret activities.

At first I thought perhaps they were part of a Secret Government or something, but then I learned the truth!

Felines have been surfing the web while while owners are at work. The report quoted, "You really gotta be careful with all the Kitty Porn online now ... it really is just a pawclick away.

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