Tuesday, March 21, 2006
  It's been a good war …
… for Big Oil

“I love the smell of burning crude in the morning. It smells like record profits!” With this slight alteration to Robert Duvall’s famous speech from the movie “Apocalypse Now!”, it is easy to imagine Dick Cheney making this speech. Of course, the movie would have to be called “Iraq – Apocalypse Now II!”

This is a subject I have written about many times before. When Bush said “Mission Accomplished” he spoke the truth. He just wasn’t talking about liberating Iraq. What he was talking about was liberating Big Oil to make Big Profits.

Ari Fleisher summed it up in the original announcement, three years ago, at the beginning of the illegal invasion in Iraq. He called it “Operation Iraqi Liberation.” That’s O.I.L. for short, but when Karl Rove about had a stroke over that, it was quickly changed to “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” O.I.L. was never heard of again and neither was the guy who thought it up.

So, is there a correlation between happenings in Iraq and Big Oil Profits? Here are two sets of numbers:

Set One: In 2002, before the Iraq invasion, the top five oil companies made $34 billion profit.

Set Two: Just three short years later, after disaster followed disaster in Iraq, and the situation went from bad to absolutely horrible; with oil production in Iraq almost at a stand-still, a funny thing happened. The top five oil companies increased their profits by 332% to a world shattering record for any industry ever in history of $113 billion for the year.

What do you do if you want a company to fail? That’s right. You take a man with a proven track record of failure who has never seen any reason in his entire life to change his course. Then, you put that man in charge of the company. You surround him with a bunch of “yes” men who will tell him everything is going great when it is actually going to hell in a hand basket. Then, you just sit back and wait.

Why would you want to do that? When that company goes down the drain, whatever product that company makes will soon be in short supply. so if you’ve got a company that makes the same product you are going to see your profits rise.

This would be especially profitable if you could get someone else to bankroll the takeover of the company plus furnish the labor to do the really dirty dangerous work, and, in addition, outsource on no-bid, cost-plus 25% contracts to you and your friends all the other stuff without any oversight and without any accountability!

Just something I was thinking about today when I paid my last thirty-five dollars for a tank of gas.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Today, as I’m sure everyone knows, is the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I offer the following quotes from early 2003 without comment from myself as I feel they speak for themselves and the varicosity of the sources quoted.
Declaring Victory
"Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?"
(Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)
"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it."
(CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)
"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."
(NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)
"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
(Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/27/03)
"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington."
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)
"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."
(Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)
"We're all neo-cons now"...
... (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)
"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war."
(Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)
"Oh, it was breathtaking. I mean I was almost starting to think that we had become inured to everything that we'd seen of this war over the past three weeks; all this sort of saturation. And finally, when we saw that it was such a just true, genuine expression. It was reminiscent, I think, of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And just sort of that pure emotional expression, not choreographed, not stage-managed, the way so many things these days seem to be. Really breathtaking."
(Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly, appearing on Fox News Channel on 4/9/03, discussing the pulling down of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, an event later revealed to have been a U.S. military PSYOPS operation [stunt]--Los Angeles Times, 7/3/04)
Mission Accomplished?
"The war winds down, politics heats up....Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."
(PBS's Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech)
"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)
"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)
Neutralizing the Opposition
"Why don't the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today. He did well today."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)
"What's he going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it's over? I mean, don't these things sort of lose their--Isn't there a fresh date on some of these debate points?"
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, speaking about Howard Dean--4/9/03)
"If image is everything, how can the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete with a president fresh from a war victory?"
(CNN's Judy Woodruff, 5/5/03)
"It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context..... And the silence, I think, is that it's clear that nobody can do anything about it. There isn't anybody who can stop him. The Democrats can't oppose--cannot oppose him politically."
(Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum-- Fox News Channel, 5/2/03)
Nagging the "Naysayers"
"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"
(Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)
"I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/9/03)
"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types.... I just wonder, who's going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: 'Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong'? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war....
"Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that -- quote, "The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated." Sorry, Scott. I think you've been chasing the wrong tail, again.
"Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don't call them 'elitists' for nothing."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)
"Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years."
(Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, 4/9/03)
"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right."
(New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)
"Well, the hot story of the week is victory.... The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths.... There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far.... The final word on this is, hooray."
(Fox News Channel's Morton Kondracke, 4/12/03)
"Some journalists, in my judgment, just can't stand success, especially a few liberal columnists and newspapers and a few Arab reporters."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, 4/14/03)
"Sean Penn is at it again. The Hollywood star takes out a full-page ad out in the New York Times bashing George Bush. Apparently he still hasn't figured out we won the war."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 5/30/03)
"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on."
(Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate-- cited in the Observer, 3/30/03)
"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?"
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03)
"It won't take weeks. You know that, professor. Our military machine will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there's no question that it will."
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)
"There's no way. There's absolutely no way. They may bomb for a matter of weeks, try to soften them up as they did in Afghanistan. But once the United States and Britain unleash, it's maybe hours. They're going to fold like that."
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)
"He [Saddam Hussein] actually thought that he could stop us and win the debate worldwide. But he didn't--he didn't bargain on a two- or three week war. I actually thought it would be less than two weeks."
(NBC reporter Fred Francis, Chris Matthews Show, 4/13/03)
Weapons of Mass Destruction
NPR's Mara Liasson: Where there was a debate about whether or not Iraq had these weapons of mass destruction and whether we can find it...
Brit Hume: No, there wasn't. Nobody seriously argued that he didn't have them beforehand. Nobody.
(Fox News Channel, April 6, 2003)
"Speaking to the U.N. Security Council last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell made so strong a case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions that only the duped, the dumb and the desperate could ignore it."
(Cal Thomas, syndicated column, 2/12/03)
"Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of "the green mushroom" over Baghdad--the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up to U.S. armed forces to stop him before he can achieve notoriety for all time."
(Newsweek, 3/17/03)
"Chris, more than anything else, real vindication for the administration. One, credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Two, you know what? There were a lot of terrorists here, really bad guys. I saw them."
(MSNBC reporter Bob Arnot, 4/9/03)
"Even in the flush of triumph, doubts will be raised. Where are the supplies of germs and poison gas and plans for nukes to justify pre-emption? (Freed scientists will lead us to caches no inspectors could find.) What about remaining danger from Baathist torturers and war criminals forming pockets of resistance and plotting vengeance? (Their death wish is our command.)"
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
  10,000 Comedians Starving To Death And ...
"Dick, I've got an approval rating of 38 percent and you shoot the only trial lawyer in the country who likes me." --- George Bush

"You know there are all these conspiracy theories that Dick runs the country . . . or Karl [Rove] runs the country. Why aren't there any conspiracy theories that I run the country? Really ticks me off. The truth is that I do run the country . . . but Dick runs me and Lynne runs Dick. So actually Lynne runs the country. And Lynne, I think you're doin' a heckuva job. Although I have to say you dropped the ball big time on that Dubai deal." --- George Bush

"By the way, when Dick first heard my approval rating was 38 percent, he said, 'What's your secret?' " --- George Bush

And if you thank that is funny (or not) read this piece I swiped from Buzzflash written by The Walrus:

A guy walks into a talent agent's office and says "Have I got an act for you!"

The agent asks "Yeah? What sort of act?" and the guy says, "It's a political act. There's me, my running mate, our aides and media chums and their aides, plus a few non-union extras who work for less than minimum wage."

"First I walk on stage with a baby seal. I start feeding the baby seal endangered fish that I pull from a 55-gallon drum labeled 'Clean Water.' The fish have been soaking in mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and crude oil. While the baby seal oinks and pukes and turns green, my running mate starts clubbing it with a 6-foot crucifix."

"Our media chums narrate this whole thing, explaining how we're making the environment safer for fish and baby seals. Then my running mate starts stuffing illegal campaign contributions into the seal's body cavity while slicing off layers of fat and passing the fat to the audience, while our aides pass out press releases explaining that the baby seal fat is actually safer than it was before I fed it mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls."

"Next, one of the non-union extras drives a huge HumVee onto the stage. We've modified it so it gets half a mile per gallon. It's belching out carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons like crazy. We've sealed all the ventilation ducts so the audience gets the full dose. This makes them light-headed, and more likely to find this entertaining. The HumVee has a banner on the side that says 'Blue Skies.' We start singing Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World,' in black-face and pickaninny voices. Al Jolson would be proud of this part."

"We then truck in a bunch of crippled kids and tell them how compassionate we are, but then we rip up their Medicare checks, dump them out of their wheel chairs and order them off stage. They drag their disfigured bodies from the stage while we call them a drain on society and we sell their wheel chairs to GM for scrap metal."

"While this is going on, one of our media chums is having phone sex with his aide, describing unspeakable acts involving a falafel and a loofah, and he's masturbating the whole time. We patch into the call using an illegal wiretap and broadcast it over the PA system in the theater, and blame the mainstream liberal press for the repulsive content."

"A guy dressed as Jesus walks onstage and kicks a guy dressed as Mohammed in the crotch. Jesus tells the audience that they need to give all their money to him or go to Hell. Then Jesus picks up the crucifix we used to club the baby seal, and attaches strings to it. The strings are connected to the hands and feet of a woman in a persistent vegetative state. Jesus makes her dance around the stage like a marionette, and preaches about the Kingdom of Heaven."

"After that, Rush Limbaugh comes on stage and bloviates about the sanctity of marriage, the importance of personal responsibility, and how drug users should be locked up in prison. As he's delivering this monologue, we trot out an underage girl my running mate has knocked up the day before. We dangle a morning-after pill just out of her reach and lecture her on sexual abstinence. All her jumping up and down causes her to spontaneously abort her 1-day-old embryo."

"We then carve Ronald Reagan's face onto a life-sized mock-up of the Statue of Liberty. Manwhile, one of my aides is cleaning an assault rifle, which accidentally goes off and blows the head off a lady in the front row. He then gives a long-winded lecture on the 2nd Amendment, and again, personal responsibility."

"All this time, a giant screen at the back of the stage is playing an endless loop of news coverage of a privileged white girl who went missing in Aruba followed by another clip of an yet another privileged white girl who got cold feet the day before her wedding and took a powder."

"While this is going on, I start firing missiles at the studio next door, saying that the act over there is against family values and God, and they have weapons of mass destruction aimed at our studio. Then I do a pantomime of looking for the WMD under sofas and behind the curtains, laughing my ass off. I never find the WMD, but I keep insisting that the other studio was a dire threat to our studio."

"I explain how morally superior we are, and how we're the only ones who really understand personal responsibility and Christian values and abstinence and the sanctity of marriage and the evils of drug abuse."

"We all dance and slide around in the baby seal blood and fat and the dead lady's blood, and the PCBs and oil and the tears from the underage pregnant girl (Did I mention that she's homeless? She's homeless.). We're rubbing the blood and oil all over each other, slapping each other on the backs, congratulating ourselves on a job well done, and laughing at the homeless pregnant girl and waterboarding the guy dressed as Mohammed as he issues a fatwah against us and the entire audience. Then for the finale, we all join in a rousing chorus of 'Nearer My God To Thee.' "

"Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that the audience will walk out in droves and demand refunds. But that's the beauty of it. My running mate and I have cooked the books so that even after you hand out all the refunds, you still make more money than they originally paid and, to get in, the audience has to pay for their tickets with their credit cards. That way, we steal the credit card numbers and max them out to pay for the lavish party we throw after the show. Halliburton does the catering, so it costs about twice what it should."

"Now get this: We tape the whole show and broadcast it on Fox. Nobody watches it, but we pay Diebold to make the ratings-counters, so it will have the highest ratings in television history."

The agent says "Wow. That's a hell of an act. What do you call it?"

And the guy says "The Republicans!"
Samizdat: an underground system for the circulation of forbidden works of literature and political criticism in the Soviet era of Russia.

Location: Arkansas, United States

Angry, angry, angry ... but still, any day above ground is a good day.