The Razor's Edge

Mike Hanson in a nutshell [according to some of my more endearing hate mail]: "you are nothing more than a misogynistic, crypto-fascist, Amerikkkan pig and I hope you choke and die on the dollars you steal from the oppressed" Email Mike: m_hanson76 hotmail dot com

The Blade That Slashes Progressives!

Thursday, August 07, 2003
Policy Analysis Market

Or the Terrorist betting pool as some were making out to be, has been killed. Most of the people who raised the strongest objections to it, never bothered to look into the soundness of the program how it would have worked.

Here is a typical example from David Morse at Commondreams.

The announced purpose of the Policy Analysis Market, as it was known, was to harness the “anonymous forces of market capitalism” to predict the likelihood of acts of terrorism - much as commodity-trading speculates on the future price of coffee or pork bellies. The Pentagon’s justification was that “markets are extremely efficient, effective and timely aggregators of dispersed and even hidden information.”

But critics in the Senate raised moral, as well as tactical concerns, in pointing out the obvious. Not only were markets faulty predictors of the future (witness the last stock market bubble and its collapse),

I find it interesting that Morse, who writes about economic issues, cannot differentiate between equities markets and futures markets and the fundamental differences between the two. But anyhoo……..

but if anonymous online traders could bet on the probability of various acts of terrorism in the Middle East - assassinations and coups - the setup was an invitation to mischief, including insider-trading by terrorists themselves. This may have been the Pentagon’s real intent all along: to use its cyber-surveillance capability to track buyers and sellers. But even as a long-term sting operation, it was ripe for abuse by speculators of every stripe.

“Can you imagine,” asked Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who helped blow the whistle in the Senate, “if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in - and is sponsored by the government itself - people could go in and bet on the assassination of an American political figure?”

The new toy was the latest brainstorm from its Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, DARPA, created to spearhead the War on Terrorism, and headed by the notorious John M. Poindexter. DARPA was trumpeted by Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, as “brilliantly imaginative.”

The idea was anything but brilliant, of course. It was, as one Congressman put it, “unbelievably stupid.” A New York Times editorial called it “wacky,” and demanded Poindexter’s resignation, without asking how the idea had gotten past Wolfowitz. In response to the bipartisan outrage, Wolfowitz lost no time distancing himself from the project, suggesting that the brainstormers at DARPA “got too imaginative.”

Ok, now that we heard the screed, its time to iron a few of Morse’s wrinkles.

First, not just “speculators of every stripe” would be allowed to participate. Policy experts would make up the backbone of those eligible to participate in the futures market. Military experts like Bill Gertz from the Washington Times, former diplomats and intelligence officials, think tank members would be the main source for the project.

These individuals would use their vast expertise and resources [as well as free time] to make predictions about current events. The issues could be things as mundane as whether Islamic fundamentalists would gain more seats in the Turkish house of parliament to economic forecasts for Egypt, to speculation as to whether or not liberalized political reforms will continue in Iran.

This would not be a system in which unknown people from Al’Queda, or Hamass, or Islamic Jihad could participate.

Issues of terrorism would also be open to speculation, but the Policy Analysis Market was to give a more comprehensive outlook for the Middle East.

Financial incentives would not be given out on a cash basis either. It is not as if someone could wager $100million on the assignation of a political figure and then make sure they won the bet. The Financial portion would have been given in the form of grants to the individuals and think tanks that made the correct predictions as well as those who agreed with it. A real financial incentive to be right or wrong would go a long way in forcing people to look at situation in a more realistic way and not fog opinions and speculations with ideology.

After all we are talking about money here, and futures markets are very good predictive tools for what they pertain to. I have been told that if I want to know what the weather in Florida is going to be like in 6 months, just look at what 6 month orange juice futures are doing.

DARPA has also had some fantastic successes in the past 30 years with technologies and systems it had thought up. The internet is perhaps DARPA’s most used, and least well known.

All these things aside, nothing in the first half of Morse’s article had anything to do with the “real” objections to the Policy Analysis Market. Like every other lefty out there, they absolutely hate anything connected to free market economic ideas.

Poindexter’s follies are the quintessence of what this administration has been about from the beginning. This latest scheme simply exposes the tip of an ideological iceberg that is no less wacky or dangerous, but which has escaped such noisy condemnation because it floats in a sea of general acceptance. It is the ideology of privatization, carried to extreme.

At its most benign, this ideology rests on the very dubious assumption that every aspect of government, from elections to social institutions, to foreign policy, can be governed by the so-called free market. At its most vicious, it is simply monopoly capitalism masquerading as government: profoundly antidemocratic, as well as anti-competitive, with no thought beyond lining the pockets of the powerful.

And there we have it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Larry Flynt at His worst


HUSLTER Magazine invites you to join us in prayer.

On Tuesday, August 5th at 12:45pm, we have organized a special gathering to pray to God for Fox News Channel blowhard Bill O'Reilly's death.

The service will be held in Los Angeles at Cornerstone Plaza, 1990 S. Bundy Drive. Located on the corner of Bundy Drive and LaGrange Av e.

DISCLAIMER: This serious gathering will truly take place, however if O'Reilly dies, it must be God's will.

For more information, please contact: Sean Carney 323-651-5400 ext. 7361

You know, there are many who don’t like O’Reilly, [I really cannot comment as my shitty cable provider does not even have Fox News], but to pray for his death is truly one of the most disgusting things I have head come out from the left in quite a while.

One has to wonder if this will make Matthew Rothschild’s McCarthy Watch found in the Progressive Magazine or if that useless cunt Naomi Klein will have anything to say about this.

On a side note, I think that the current plight of Flynt is one the quintessential definition of the phrase “poetic justice”. Here we have shining example a hate filled man once mired hedonism that because of an assassin’s bullet missing his heart but not his spine can no longer delight in the ladies that once surrounded him.

I suppose he has to compensate somehow.

Cuba Jams Satellite Transmissions to Iran

Considering that the left is so adamant about US imperial designs to topple the Cuban dictatorship via military action [
this prick contends its because we are jealous of the "successes" of the Cuban socialist experiment], I am not surprised that this storyhas not gotten more airplay.

Transmitters in Cuba are jamming the signals of at least four U.S.-based television stations owned by Iranian Americans who are critical of the Tehran regime and use satellites to transmit programs to Iran, according to broadcasters and a private U.S. firm that has pinpointed the source of the interference.

All the transmissions affected so far are beamed from Los Angeles -- which has a large population of Iranian exiles -- by privately owned stations that oppose Iran's theocratic government, officials of the four stations said.

Although the jamming only occurred for a few days, the timing of it is very important. It took place during the first week of July, when protests by Iranian students were at their largest level since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah.

The jamming is most likely being done from a facility just outside of Havana built by the Soviets during the Cold War to spy on the US and block anti Castro/Soviet radio transmission.

The Cubans are most likely doing this in exchange for Iranian oil. An incentive which could easily be “lost” through the work of a US Navy UDT on any tanker coming from Iran.

From the files of “What They Really Think”

The peace movement summed Up:

In the glow of the Iraq war's initial military success, most American peace activists felt profoundly demoralized.

- Paul Loeb at Commondreams


No I have not vanished from the face of the earth, I have just been extremely busy.

Monday, July 21, 2003
The Screwing of Greg Palast: The Wait Is Over

About a month back I commented on Greg Palast’s observation that Cynthia Mckinney had been “screwed” out of her reelection bid because, in Palast’s view, she was the object of a deliberate disinformation campaign put out by us evil neo-cons.

After several threatening emails and phone calls, I finally got someone over at KPFA to send the the transcripts of the March 25th, 2002 interview with Cynthia Mckinney. Sure enough, it seems as if Palast was full of shit.

Have you heard about Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman?

According to those quoted on National Public Radio, McKinney’s “a loose cannon” (media expert) who “the people of Atlanta are embarrassed and disgusted” (politician) by, and she is also “loony” and “dangerous” (senator from her own party).

Yow! And why is McKinney dangerous/loony/disgusting? According to NPR, “McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.”

The New York Times’ Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments went even further over the edge: “Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”

That’s loony, all right. As an editor of the highly respected Atlanta Journal Constitution told NPR, McKinney’s “practically accused the President of murder!”

Problem is, McKinney never said it.

That’s right. The “quote” from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin’ made up.

Yes, this is one fact the Times reporter didn’t fake: The McKinney “quote” was, indeed, all over the place: in the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and needless to say, all the other metropolitan dailies – everywhere but in Congresswoman McKinney’s mouth.

Nor was it in the Congressional Record, nor in any recorded talk, nor on her Website, nor in any of her radio talks.

Fabricated, ehh….. Well lets just have a look at what the transcripts tell us shall we.

According to the Washington Times article that Palast cites as fabricating the quote, here is what the Washington Times quoted Mckinney as saying McKinney

From the Washington Times

In a recent interview with a Berkeley, Calif., radio station, McKinney said: "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. . . . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? . . . What do they have to hide?"

And Now From the March 25th, 2002 KPFA Interview

We know that there were several warnings that were given prior to the events of September 11. What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? What do they have to hide?

Agian from the Washington Times

She suggested that the administration was serving the interests of a Washington-based investment firm, the Carlyle Group, which employs a number of high-ranking former government officials from both parties. Former president George H.W. Bush -- the current president's father -- is an adviser to the firm. McKinney said the war on terrorism has enriched Carlyle Group investors by enhancing the value of a military contractor partly owned by the firm.

And Now From the March 25th, 2002 KPFA Interview

Then the other issue that saddens me is the fact that the former President, president Bush's daddy, sits on the board of the Carlyle Group. And so we get this presidency, of questionable legitimacy, requesting a nearly unprecedented amount of money to go into a defense budget for defense spending that will directly benefit his father.

The father sits on the board of an organization called the Carlyle Group.

Well, it would seem to me that the Washington Times not only quotes Mckinney fairly accurately, but also paraphrased her allegations of the Carlyle Group’s involvement accurately as well.

She was beaten in the August 2002 Democratic primary. More precisely, she was beaten to death, politically, by the fabricated quote
-Greg Palast

So was it a fabricated quote, or can’t the “investigative journalist” Greg Palast find a copy of the transcript and doing shoddy journalism, or is Palast lying in order to validate his own bullshit theory about why Cynthia Mckinney was so harshly [and bi-partisanly I might ass] attacked?

Clearly, from a reading of the KPFA’s transcripts, the quote does indeed exist and was accurately reported by both the Atlantic Journal Constitution as well as the Washington Post. I also doubt that Palast had any trouble finding a copy of the Flashpoints interview, because I [John Q Public] had absolutely no problem obtaining a copy a of it.

This leads us to one conclusion: Greg Palast is quilt of what he alleges Cynthia Mckinney’s detractors of, fabricating stories to validate a theory.

For the life of me, I cannot believe why he would do this, but it will be interesting to see if he responds to any of my e-mail requests for further clarification.

I suppose the the tile to this post “The Screwing of Greg Palast” might not be appropriate after all. Screwing implies that I have somehow willfully and maniacally besmirched the good name of a fine Journalist. Evidently Palast has done that all on his own.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
The More Things Change...

Well, you know how that saying goes, but have a read anyways.

Ralph Peters

Democrats attack the Republican president over a continuing conflict, insisting it cannot be won, as they position themselves for upcoming elections.

The president acts vigorously in response to a threat to our national survival - exacerbated by the fecklessness and timidity of his predecessor in office. His critics are outraged and unforgiving.

A retired general is one of the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, although the Army realizes it's winning and continues to support the president.

Continental European powers, especially France, tacitly back Washington's enemies, jockeying for financial advantage - even approaching open support for the enemy's leader.

Domestically, subversives and traitors are arrested. Some are handed over to military tribunals. Civil libertarians argue that the U.S. Constitution is being destroyed.

The nation's intellectual elite cannot bear the president's Western simplicity, rustic mannerisms and lack of polish.

The media attack the president savagely, making fun of his lack of sophistication and even his appearance. Cartoonists lampoon the man even more fiercely than his policies. Leading newspapers and journals insist that his policies are disastrous and that he is unfit to lead the nation.

Even the British media portray the president as a dangerous lunatic, out of control.

On Capitol Hill, self-interested members of Congress establish a committee to investigate the president's handling of the war, as well as alleged distortions and corruption in his administration.

The president's secretary of state is accused of failure and ineptitude, while the cabinet member responsible for the Army has a knack for angering everybody.

The verdict of the intelligentsia is unanimous: This president is leading the nation into disaster.

Yet, the people continue to support the man, admiring the very qualities the intellectual elite despises. The president continues to do what he believes is necessary for the nation's security and survival, ignoring his exasperated critics.

President Bush? No.

Abraham Lincoln.

And the approaching elections were those of 1864, not 2004.

And the rest is well worth the read .

Thursday, July 10, 2003
The Kyoto Accord: How to kill an economy 101

By Iain Murray over at Tech Central Station

Yet because the climate change alarmists have frightened some lawmakers into assuming that drastic austerity measures are the only way to avoid a putative disaster in 100 years time, we are faced with the possibility of this thriving economy being forced to wear a hair shirt over the next decade. The EIA also released at the end of last month its analysis of the McCain-Lieberman "Climate Stewardship Act," a bill currently being considered by the Senate as part of the comprehensive energy bill. This bill, if enacted, would introduce a system of "cap and trade" credits, whereby from 2010 entities in the commercial, industrial and electric power sectors would not be allowed to produce more than a certain "capped" level of carbon dioxide emissions. However, bodies that produce less than their cap would be able to trade their allowances, thus creating a new economic market of credits and allowances from which they could profit. It is worth remembering here that Enron was pushing for just such a scheme.

The impact of such a scheme on the economy, the EIA found, would be far-reaching. As a result of price increases, the average household's energy bill would increase by $444 per year by 2025, although a new bureaucracy called the Climate Change Credit Corporation would issue rebates, assistance and other payments in a form of energy welfare to offset much of these costs.

Yet the impact on the economy as a whole can not be made up by hand-outs from government. When the system comes into operation, the economy would be severely affected resulting in job and output losses in the short-run. Because of this shock, real disposable income would drop by almost 1 percent per person by 2011, and would take fifteen years to return to 2000 levels. By 2025, the average person will have lost almost $2,500 as a result of McCain-Lieberman. The effect on GDP is even more startling, with the nation losing $507 billion in real terms over the next twenty-two years. By 2025, the country's GDP will be $106 billion lower in real terms than would have been the case without McCain-Lieberman.

The America that Senators McCain and Lieberman want us to live in is a poorer country in every sense of the word. People will be poorer than they are today and travel less, the economy will be struggling to recover to today's levels, and the outlook for jobs for an expanding population will be poor. Environmentalists who think this is a fair price to pay for their unproven theory that global warming will endanger us might also reflect that the EIA estimates that nuclear power generation will increase by 50 percent.

Yet, if current trends persist, technological progress will have reduced emissions per unit of GDP by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2025. It might seem wiser to continue along this path, rather than crippling our economy and putting thousands out of work.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
The joys of living under Saddam Hussein

By William Blum, revered left wing author .

Take the children out of the room. What follows is a kind word about Saddam Hussein. During his reign, when the war with Iran and US bombings and sanctions made it feasible, the Iraqi people had free education all the way through university and medical school, free medical care, regular food packages for those in need, women's rights superior to anything in the Arab world, and religious toleration for Christians and other non-Muslims.

My God it was a utopia!

And his take Cuba.

Cuba has recently been heavily criticized, by various shadings of leftists as well as by those to the right, for its sentencing a number of "dissidents" to prison because of their very close political and financial connections to American officials. Critics say that Cuba should not have over-reacted so, that these people were not really guilty of anything criminal.

I especialy love the sneering emphasis on "dissidents".

While I personally think that the Cuban trials were too quick and that some of the sentences were too long, we have to keep in mind that before the United States invaded Iraq there was extensive CIA and US military liaison on the ground with Iraqi dissidents and lots of propaganda to soften up the population -- propaganda beamed into Iraq with the indispensable help of other Iraqi dissidents.

The United States has been on a ferocious rampage of bombing, invasion, taking over countries and threatening the same to others. The US ambassador to the Dominican Republic declared: "I think what is happening in Iraq is going to send a very positive signal, and it is a very good example for Cuba." An advisor to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, speaking of Fidel Castro, said: "The administration has taken care of one tyrant already. I don't think they would vacillate about taking care of another one." There was in this same period a wave of violent hijackings of Cuban planes and boats.

Can Cuba be expected to ignore all this? Is Washington's work with Cuban dissidents to be seen as a purely harmless undertaking? Not done for a purpose? How can Cuba not feel extremely threatened, even more than the usual threat of the past 44 years? How can they not take precautionary measures?

Interesting that someone who routinely criticizes the US for racial profiling in airports and well everything really, would justify the arrest and executions of dozens of Cubans for no other reason than speaking out against Castro.

But what else would we expect from Blum who once wrote that the true intention behind the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was” to protect a fellow progressive regime in Kabul”.

Ohh Yeah!

That blowhard prick Mike Malloy has a new website and discussion forum.

I have signed up and am currently taking wagers and giving odds on how long till his Stazi have me booted.

The Iranian revolution update

You know, a while back I commented on Andrew Sullivan’s observation that the left seemed to be ignoring what was going on in Iran.

Well, as usual, the rank hypocrisy and hate of country that many within this community of “free thinkers” shows, has not let me down.

Simon Jones, Canadian freelance journalist and the head of Greenpeace’s office in soviet era Moscow, clues us into the reasons why true “progressives” must not be impressed by the goings on in Iran and why they need to support the 1979 revolution.

Which brings me to Iran. It is best described as a socialism-averse socialist state, but one where the 'reformers' are hell-bent on jettisoning the remnants of socialism and obediently following the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Strangely, the 'reformers' do not seem to be aware there is a massive world movement against US imperialism and globalization afoot, which should ideally constitute their natural allies.

Iran’s human rights record is without a doubt the best of the lot. It has a healthy independent culture, and is eager to rejoin the world.

During the Cold War, I was mocked as a Sovsymp for promoting detente. Call me an Iransymp, or worse yet, an Ayatollahsymp if you like. 'Sticks and stones ...,' I always used to say. But be clear: my 'ideology' is anti-imperialism, critical support, sympathy, open-mindedness.

Ironically, despite its denunciations of communism, the Iranian revolution produced many quasi-socialist features: the nationalization of banks, prohibition of interest, and '4-year' plans. Education and health care are also state-provided. Importantly, the currency is not part of the international speculative system and is state-fixed. These advantages over an IMF-produced economy are not to be scoffed at. Just ask Argentina.

Well that’s news to me, but it gets even better!

Let us review our past in this respect. The attitudes of progressives towards the Soviet Union were at best disdainful, at worst downright hateful, except for a very few brave 'naÑOfs' as Einstein [/cite1]. Sure, it was far from a perfect place, but it was one not based on the world capitalist system, and Western imperialism spent 70+ years actively trying to undermine it. If the peace movement had only been able to reach out more resolutely to allay well-grounded Soviet fears of subversion, and perhaps even promote some modest democratization (not just Westernization), we would still have a powerful counterweight to capitalism, and, hey, maybe by now even a half-decent one.

So you see, the reason the left must support Iranian tyranny is because they failed to support the Soviet Union with enough diligence. When, according to Simon, the left abandoned the USSR [which most really did not do, but that’s besides the point] they lost their best last hope for creating a counterweight to capitalism, which would show us the way.

Simon seems to see Iran as the lefts last hope for finding an alternative to capitalism.

I must say, these people get more and more morally bankrupt every day.

Celebrate What?

After boycotting any 4th of July events, those "true patriots" over at have another way of showing their love of country.

Please join

for a reception and dinner
to celebrate Bastille Day
on Sunday July 13th

at Lavandou in Washington, DC

Please join us for drinks, dinner and discussion at the highly praised French restaurant Lavandou, 3321 Connecticut Avenue, NW, which is near the Cleveland Park Metro stop. (If you are too far from Washington to attend please visit our community site and volunteer to organize one in your community.)

That’s right! Lets celebrate the French hate for the United States!

I hope they go blind from all the antifreeze in their French wine.

Friday, July 04, 2003
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, July 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:Sutton Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Sunday, June 29, 2003
Oh Dear God!

Although I would agree that a granola eating hippie like Dennis Kucinich needs all the help he can get in his presidential bid, people like this only enhance the Kucinich stereotype.

Back from BWCA Vacation

And I would highly suggest it to anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Just remember a fishing pole, because I have never caught more fish in my life.

Thursday, June 19, 2003
Cynthia McKinney Revisited

Greg Palast seems to think that former [ha ha!] congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was smeared by evil rightwing agents.

Yow! And why is McKinney dangerous/loony/disgusting? According to NPR, “McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.”

The New York Times’ Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments went even further over the edge: “Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”

That’s loony, all right. As an editor of the highly respected Atlanta Journal Constitution told NPR, McKinney’s “practically accused the President of murder!”

Problem is, McKinney never said it.

That’s right. The “quote” from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin’ made up.

Palast is referring to the spin put on McKinney’s March 25th, 2002 interview with Dennis Bernstein on KPFA.

Made up, or is Palast the one shoveling the bullshit?

I have just called KPFA radio and ordered a copy of the tape.

For Palast’s sake, he better be right, or he is going to look like one big asshole [again considering his love affair with revisionism].

Can’t wait.


The Iranian Revolution

The protests which have been taking place over the past several days in Tehran and all over Iran, gives me hope that perhaps the first modern Islamic Republic’s time may be at an end. Slightly over half of Iran’s population under the age of 21, the majority of the Iranian population had no direct knowledge of the 1979 revolution and subsequent installation of the Ayatollah Khmoeni. Couple this with Ayatollah unfriendly Iranian ex-pats broadcasting uncensored news into Iran and a large number of normaly rebelous youth youth begin to ask why they have to live like dogs under the heels of the Mullahs.

One would think that a grassroots, student led protest movement for democracy would get more attention from the left.

Well, you would be wrong, as Andrew Sullivan points out.

Something truly extraordinary has been going on in Iran these past few months and especially in the past couple of weeks. A grass-roots, student-run, anti-theocracy movement has reached some sort of critical mass. The enemy is the religious right of Iran, the group of murderous mullahs who have run their country into the ground and now have to answer for their godly tyranny to a new and populous generation of under-30s. Suddenly, we have the possibility of regime change in a critical country without war and without the intervention of the United States.

You'd think that this would be the central story on the left in this country. As blogger Don Watkins explained: "Here are a bunch of brave souls fighting a tyrannical regime through the old liberal favorite of massive protests. Here's the chance for them to get behind the cause of freedom without having to support war."

So take a look at Indymedia, one of the activist left's prime Internet Web sites. Blogger Meryl Yourish did. What did she find on the armed struggle against theocracy? Nada. Zilch. The top stories on San Francisco's Indymedia site were as follows: "Rally & March Against War in Iraq, Philippines & the INS; Anti-war Movement Audio Retrospective -- The Struggle Against Empire; Thousands at punk rock heroine Patti Smith anti-war benefit; Beat Generation Bookstore's 50th Anniversary Draws Huge Crowd."

Makes you wonder just how commited to democracy and freedom these people are if they can so casually and deliberately ignore what may be the most important political story to come out of the Mideast in quite some time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Monday, June 09, 2003

Finnish Human Shield Finally Gets it

Well, sort of. Teijo Virolainen a Finnish human shield was left rather surprised and confused at wars end. Aside from the fact that he was one of only a small handful of non-Muslim human shields, the war has left him with some mixed feelings .

When he talked to people on the street, Teijo noticed that they were speaking quite differently than before. Most of the people turned out to oppose Saddam. It was a very confusing experience.

Some were clearly happy that the Americans were there.

"We were surprised about that. If they had wanted the Americans to come here, and we were against the Americans, and now we... It was all very complicated."

Not that complicated Teijo, but compare this to what poor Teijo said before the war began.

Virolainen sees the personality cult of the Iraqi leader as mainly symbolic. "When people shout slogans in favour of Saddam Hussein, they are actually shouting for Iraq. I do not see this country as a police state. The Iraqi people really are free", Virolainen ponders.

"One thing that has become quite clear to me is that Iraq cannot be occupied. To do so it would be necessary to kill every citizen, because everyone here wants to defend this country to the last."

Defend it to the last indeed. Poor Teijo watched too much Iraqi TV.

Friday, June 06, 2003
June 6 1944

Two kinds of people are staying on this beach - the dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here!
Colonel George A Taylor Omaha Beach

In case you did not know, today is also the 59th anniversary of D-Day.

Al Jazeera, the most trusted news source in the Arab World

Many call Al Jazeera the CNN of the Mideast, and considering CNN’s admission that it intentionally refused to disclose egregious human rights abuses in order to maintain a presence in Baghdad, they may have a point.

Al-Jazeera TV chief sacked
May 28 2003

The director general of the controversial Arab satellite television Al-Jazeera has been sacked, Qatari sources said yesterday, amid allegations he worked with Saddam Hussein's intelligence services.

Mohammed Jassem al-Ali had held the top job at the Doha-based station since it launched the Arabic-language channel in 1996.

Al-Jazeera and Ali have been accused by Western media of collaborating with the former regime in Baghdad.

Ali visited Iraq before the US-led war and met Saddam during an hour-long interview.

Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the American-backed Iraqi National Congress, has accused several Al-Jazeera journalists of working for Iraqi agencies, based on documents found in state archives in Baghdad.

Ali, who has denied the charges, could not be contacted.

A replacement was expected to be announced shortly, the Qatari sources told AFP.

Al-Jazeera enjoyed a special status in pre-war Iraq, being allowed to work independently of the information ministry, which strictly controlled foreign media.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Why did they want us to loose?

Before and during our quick and relatively painless victory over Saddam and his Bathist thugs, many voices were heard to be screaming “quagmire”, “Arab street anger”, “terrorism rising”, “a million Mogadishus” [personally, that was by far the most disgusting] and dozens of other slogans prediction eminent doom for allied forces in Iraq. I remember flipping through an old copy of Newsweek at my gym last evening and reading in the arrows up/down section that Rumsfeld was a “childish for thinking his roadmap for the war would work”. This issue also happened to be the April 2nd issue. But never the less far too many voices were rooting for an Iraqi victory and relishing in the unraveling war strategy of the dastardly neo-cons.

In fact, if all you did was tune into the Arab and European press to see how the war was going, the revelation that Iraq actually lost would have come as quite a surprise to you.

And why does the left still scream for a US defeat in postwar Iraq? Whether you read the headlines over at the stalwarts of leftist mindspeak [The Nation, AlterNet, Motherjones, Salon, Commondreams etc…], or in discussions with anti-war types there seems to be this irrational exuberance, to borrow a phrase, over anything, big or small that seems to go wrong. Every time a chopper goes down, every time a soldier is killed, whenever an Iraqi riot ends in a shooting, there seems to be this knee jerk reaction to proclaim it from the tops of the mountains, follow with the “I told you this would happen”.

It almost smacks of schadenfreude, a malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others, the way they dangle these things in the faces of the public. What they don’t realize however is that in the grand scheme of things the misfortune of the their opponents is also their own misfortune.

Sound preposterous you say, well then hear what Gary Kamiya’s executive editor had to say.

I have a confession: I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings.

Kamiya’s comments say much about this new “peace and justice” coalition that has been built [more like scavenged] over the past 18 months or so. They believe that if all went/goes smoothly in Iraq, that it will mean a re-election for Bush. They seemed to be so focused on their hate for the Administration that they will stop at nothing, and I mean nothing, to discredit it.
Its pettiness on such a disgustingly low level that it sickens me.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003
From the Files of . . . . . .

Forget the facts, we already have our minds made up. Courtesy Deborah Blum of the LA times .

From his Pentagon podium, Army Col. James Naughton expressed unreserved admiration for the big silver-colored bullets. Or at least for their ability to take out the enemy.

You might think of this as just another chest-beating exercise by us American warrior types. But Naughton and his colleagues in the U.S. military have a particular need to praise — or rather defend — depleted uranium bullets. The real purpose of the recent briefing was to counter "misinformation." Translated, that means other people don't like our choice of tank-killer devices.

The critics, ranging from environmentalists in Europe to scientists in the Middle East, say that in all our recent engagements — the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Kosovo, Bosnia and now the latest Iraqi conflict — we left our poisonous, uranium-dusted footprints all over other people's homelands. They worry that the chunks of radioactive litter scattered across former battlefields have already caused a variety of illnesses. They worry, too, about the potential for future harm.

This image of the U.S. as a major military polluter is not the one we want to cultivate abroad. And the Pentagon doesn't seem to like making nice in response. Naughton, for instance, snappily suggested that Iraqi critics are merely political subversives: "They want it to go away because last time we kicked the crap out of them. I mean, there's no doubt that DU gave us a huge advantage so wouldn't it be great if we [the Iraqis] could convince the world to make the U.S. give up DU?"

As always, it's a mistake to think of a battleground as something that can just be tidied up. What conflict hasn't produced decades' worth of hazardous war souvenirs? You can still occasionally dig up the rusting bullets of our 19th century Civil War in the mountains of the Southeast. There remain regions in France still marked by the chemical poisons of World War I. The land mines placed in wars, small and large, continue to maim the innocent in Asia and Africa. And in Japan, the destructive effects of World War II's ultimate radioactive weapon may be repaired, but they have certainly not been forgotten.

Should DU bullets be classed in this company? Rationally, of course, there's no comparing antitank munitions with the legacy of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, "Fat Man" and "Little Boy." Some remnant tons of slightly radioactive metal should barely flicker on the environmental threat meter. If the rest of the world would just be more rational, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

That kind of exasperated reasoning approaches the position of the Pentagon and, in fact, many independent scientists. Robert L. Park of the American Physical Society is downright sarcastic on the question: "I always figured it would be a lot better to be shot with a uranium bullet than a dum-dum — it should make a good clean hole. Physicists don't spend much time worrying about natural uranium, and DU is even less radioactive by about 40%."

There's another way to look at depleted uranium, and that's as a problem that can really, really linger. Uranium 238, the primary heavy metal in DU bullets, has a radioactive half-life of 10^9 years. Wimp radiation or not, the fragments and shells and uranium-loaded bits and pieces are the kind of war souvenirs that can bother people for a long time, making them edgy about us, our battle tactics, and what we casually leave behind.

It also means we can end battles quickly, surely a good thing. If by doing that DU bullets save lives, and if the radiation is a minor issue, it's fair to ask why other people dislike them so much. For one thing, radiation is only part of the problem. Like other heavy metals, such as lead, depleted uranium is chemically toxic. Absorbed by the body, heavy metals can damage kidneys, break down nerves and cause chemically induced cancers. The Pentagon actually considers this a greater risk. Military doctors have been watching Gulf War veterans, braced for those illnesses. But they haven't uncovered such signs of evil.

In the 12 years of testing, they've found no such poisoning, no radiation-linked cancers, no patterns of uranium-sparked disease. United Nations studies conducted in Kosovo and Bosnia came up similarly empty on health effects. That doesn't mean these are benign materials. Studies in cell cultures and microorganisms show even low-level toxicity does harm at the cellular level, that even wimp radiation kills and deforms cells. A few studies have suggested DU might be worse than passive metals like lead, that the radiation and toxicity could work together to cause genetic damage. Perhaps. So far, though, only the Iraqis have noted severe effects in humans, from birth defects to cancers, but they have also refused to allow the United Nations to independently verify the claims.

So give us some credit here. One of the reasons this hasn't been a high-profile issue in this country is that no one has produced consistently convincing reasons for worry. And then take some credit away — we haven't responded to the real issue behind the criticism. The rest of the world doesn't trust us on this one. Not even our allies: "But what if they [the Americans] are wrong?" the British science magazine New Scientist asked in April.

When it comes to depleted uranium weapons, I vote for the high moral ground. Let's acknowledge that perception of risk can sometimes be as frightening as risk itself. Let's invite U.N. environmental inspectors to do an independent assessment in Iraq. And as a matter of principle, let's clean up our mess. It may look like it's someone else's problem. But it's really ours.

I see, so the experts claim DU to be safe, by your own admission. Field studies in Kosovo and Bosnia turned up nothing, also by your own admission. The Iraqi claims of DU poisoning cannot be independently verified, once again by your own admission. You even go so far as to claim that it may just be the perceived risk of DU poisoning that is causing all the hubbub but you still see it as a ‘threat’?

That is indeed a case of don’t argue me with the facts, because my mind is already made up.

And this is the caliber of a Pulitzer prize winning journalist?

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