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October 10, 2003
Oil For..Dollars...no, Euros

I don't know when it was, but I know that at one point I blogged a link to an essay by someone who said we were making war on Iraq in order to lay claim to their oil because we were afraid of the economic consequences to the USofA if OPEC went off the dollar standard and used euros, instead.

Whoever wrote that article (I'll google for it, later) seems prescient now.

In the meantime, it's not the original story, but here's an article on a similar subject, "Of Oil, the Euro and Africa".

And read, Not Oil, But Dollars vs. Euros .

And then read, another one.

And then, read, The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War with Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth

(Or here for the same article, this time attributed to W. Clark instead of W.C. "W. Clark"? Wesley, maybe? )

Note that all of these people were writing months ago. It would seem that they knew what they were talking about.

The real reason the Bush administration wants a puppet government in Iraq - or more importantly, the reason why the corporate-military-industrial network conglomerate wants a puppet government in Iraq - is so that it will revert back to a dollar standard and stay that way" (while also helping veto any wider OPEC momentum for the switch from Iran - which is seriously considering switching to euros as their oil transaction currency as of Sept 2002 - or other members such as Saudi Arabia whose regime appears increasingly threatened/weak from an internal coup). The administration is acutely aware of this and in preparation for invading Iraq we will create a huge and permanent military presence in the Persian Gulf region, just in case we need to grab Saudi's oil fields as well as Iraq’s oil fields…

"Saddam sealed his fate when he decided to switch to the euro in late 2000 and converted his $10 billion reserve fund at the U.N. to euros - at that point, another manufactured Gulf War become inevitable under Bush II. Only the most extreme circumstances could possibly stop that now and I strongly doubt anything can - short of Saddam getting replaced with a pliant regime."

Check out the December, 2002, Democratic Underground thread the above was quoted fromn. It offers some interesting links.

Although there are numerous reports that Clinton's outgoing Administration warned the incoming Bush Bunch that the Taliban was planning something serious, and that they needed to hit bin Laden before he hit us, the Bush Administration chose to ignore the threat until, as near as I can tell, about 30 days before 9/11, when the intelligence services seem to have begun demanding that someone pay attention to them.

And yet, days after the Afghanistan-based, religious-extremist, Taliban murdered over 3,000 people, the Administration seems to have started laying the groundwork for an invasion of the largely-secular-and-certainly-unconnected-to-9/11 country of Iraq.

That didn't make sense to me until I read the original article I mention above.

And now, of course, it's starting to make even more sense. The invasion is about "protecting the American people" in the sense that the Supreme Court once rules that corporations are people.

(Okay, I'm not stupid. A depression, or even another severe recession, wouldn't be good for the USofA public, no. And we'd like to avoid that kind of thing, yes. I would personally have preferred that we do it without killing a few thousand bystanders, but such delicate squeamishness is probably why I'm not a politician. I'm just saying, okay? It's a pity this country has been so pushy and arrogant over the last couple of decades. Now we're reaping the fruits of our failure to live up to our own ideals when dealing with the international community.*)

(* No, I can't prove that. Nor can I cite a link. It's an opinion.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)
Paying the price

The price of free speech for all of us is that we have to let perverted bigots have their say. (I say, if the monument of the 10 commandments means you have to let just anyone and everyone put up any kind of monument they want, then take down the 10 commandments one.) Let us hope that Phelps goes that 'one step too far' that he usually can't resist and lays himself open to an action for slandering the community. (And, not to be all amateur psychologist or anything, but is Phelps a classic case of self-loathing, closeted, homosexual repression or is he not?)

And "freedom of speech" means there's not much that will stop you finding a job. Especially at the 'Sensational and Unbalanced Fox news network.

You also have to let the OpinionJournal attempt to use the "Wall Street" name to sway weak-minded readers over to a radical, right-wing perspective. Taranto tries his usual semantic misdirection to cover the incoherence of his logic.

Reading on down, you get to a couple of paragraphs about Dean's blog where Taranto manages to imply that most of the posters thereon are paid to be Dean's cheerleaders. In fact, by the use of the phrase, "on the take" he manages to infuse the entire situation with an aura of criminality.

Reading the source material Taranto links to, I didn't really get that impression, but I'm currently neutral on Dean's campaign, so I lacked Taranto's specific, right-wing agenda.

You know...the one that he, as a "professional journalist" is prohibited from taking money to support.

And then, reading on down, we find Taranto taking exception to the NYT taking exception to the Republican leadership's determination to place their own candidates on the ballot in California, regardless of whether or not their hand-picked candidate was attractive to the public.

In fact, it would be much easier to read the NYT material as supportive of a Republican candidate, provided that that same candidate was chosen/nominated/supported by the majority of California's conservatives, and merely critical of the Republican leadership's control-freakishness, but that wouldn't suit Taranto's agenda, so he struggles to twist the meaning of the words.

Just imagine how incoherent he'd be if he wasn't, you know, paid to produce favorable coverage for the Right.

Actually, I find him more amusing than most OpinionJournal writers. He's certainly the most transparent and the least intellectual. You have to like someone who posts two paragraphs of a Washington Post article just so they can admire the consistency of the metaphor used.

Of course, free speech is a wonderful thing. It allows some of us to do things like explore the fundamentals of the Republican party's platform. For those who don't think the actual Republican party is "that bad" and who maintain that the wing-nuts are...well, just wing-nuts and not the guys in charge, he provides a handy-dandy table that suggests otherwise. Those of you who consider yourselves to be "moderate" Conservatives had better start taking a good, hard look at where your party is headed.

I'm no mathematician, so I can't tell if the statistical analysis Miller is offering us today is significant or not. I don't like those "no paper ballot" machines and, human nature being what it is, I think they're a bad, bad idea.

(If the people buying the machines demanded that they print a back-up, paper ballot, then Diebold wouldn't be able to "refuse to allow printing of a ballot to be placed in a box as a back up" you know.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)
Some news, some opinions

I saw this story yesterday but I didn't blog it because the Vatican hadn't confirmed it at that point. I really don't have words for how appalling such behavior is.

I'm not impressed by the way the Democratic candidates are turning on each other instead of talking to the voters about what they stand for and what they'd do in office. It's really not enough, for instance, to talk up your own "middle class" background while pointing the finger of elitism at those born into wealthier families. Nor is it sufficient to continually point out that you voted against us invading Iraq. If I were one of those candidates and I had a voting record that I thought would prove I was the candidate the public wanted, I'd be advertising that. And I'd be advertising my opponents' voting records, or discussing the fights with the Republican leadership I'd had in Congress over the last couple of years. (Wait...wasn't there a candidate who tried to discuss the issues? Yeah, it was...whatshisname...Kucinich The one only the "radical" left is paying attention to.) (You know the "radical" left. They're those people who get all stirred up about dumb things like policy details instead of slavering over the latest rumor and innuendo.)

Second UN witness shot in Brazil
is, again, one of those headlines that sort of speaks for itself.

Here's A Century of U.S. Military Interventions from Znet. It's a "partial" list, but still appallingly long.

Common Dreams is bitchslapping the media for the way their coverage failed to address anything resembling issues during the California recall fuss. (Oh, and in the interests of fairness, I listened to excerpts from an interview with the governor-elect this morning and aside from the moments when he demonstrated that he doesn't actually know how the government works, he did sound sincere.)

Also from Common Dreams, one of those invaluable charts that compare a politician's words with his actual deeds. (It's a Bush thing.)

It may not be a full program of Iraqi WMD, but I'm not so naïve as to think a single vial of botox just magically appeared in an Iraqi scientist's home all by itself, so I'm not entirely in agreement with the opening Dowd's column, but the rest of it, discussing the Rice - Rumsfeld tug of war, is interesting.

Krugman points out that if we get lost in meta-discussion, no one's going to be paying attention to the issues. He also kicks dirt on right-wing shoes about their eagerness to demonize Clinton's sex life while excusing Schwarzenegger's. Dionne does the same.

Here's just what the world needs. Yet another how to blog article.

Molly Ivins is always worth reading.

Mark Moford is selling his computer, but maybe he should have it bronzed, instead?

Posted by AnneZook at 08:26 AM | Comments (2)
October 09, 2003
Good grief

Afghan battle 'worst in months'

Baghdad police station bombed

2 wounded as suicide bomber sets off explosive near West Bank army base

Six dead in Bogota car blast

Some days I regret the effort I put into getting up and into the office early so that I can read the news.

From the Center for American Progress (Via Common Dreams):

The Bush Administration on finding Osama Bin Laden in Central Asia:
“We're going to hunt them down one at a time…it doesn't matter where they hide, as we work with our friends we will find them and bring them to justice.” - President George W. Bush, 11/22/02

The Bush Administration on finding Saddam Hussein in the Mideast:

"We are continuing the pursuit and it's a matter of time before [Saddam] is found and brought to justice.”
- White House spokesman McClellan, 9/17/03

The Bush Administration on finding the leaker in the close confines of the White House:

“ I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. I don't have any idea.”
- President George W. Bush, 10/7/03

Not only do we seem to have gotten less sure of our ability to track down the bad guys, it appears that it's a lot harder to find miscreants if they work in your building.

The debate over whether or not Rumsfeld has been kicked out of the 'cool' gang in Washington goes on, including speculation that Dowd speculates about it. So does another NYT Op-Ed.

And the Secretary-General of the U.N. seems to be aware of his organization's many failures over the years.

That Muslim chaplain accused of spying in Guantanamo seems to have been something less than an all-out terrorist. In fact, recent developments make it look likely that he won't be charged with spying at all. (There are a lot of reasons he could have made drawings of the cells and lists of the men's names. How about to go to the USofA national media and protest the months and months of illegal incarceration those men have suffered?)

The USofA press might think it's all just oh-so-yesterday, but overseas, people are still puzzling over the election of Arnie, the humiliator. They don't understand why Clinton was dragged down on much less evidence than exists on Schwarzenegger, some of which, as they point out, has been in common currency for years.

I don't know myself, but I do know that on the way home last night, I was listening to NPR interview a couple of California voters and one ("Barbara," a lawyer in downtown LA) though Schwarzenegger would be more "fun" in office than "the other guy." (Yeah, because that's what a state facing a massive deficit and climbing unemployment wants. A "fun" politician. Have you ever had one of those moments when you wanted to reach through the radio and just throttle someone?)

Another guy interviewed was part of that 30-44 demographic that was significant in getting Schwarzenegger elected and one of those who seemed confused between Schwarzenegger's movie roles and his private life. He talked about the election as though someone were going to script a happy ending for the governorship of this novice politician.

I don't know if Schwarzenegger will do a good job or not. I have a personal distaste for him but that doesn't mean I don't think he might be able to hire people who understand, as he does not, what it takes to govern a state, but as you read the article, it becomes more and more clear that the guy is a world-class pig.

Just thinking about it puts me in a bad mood. I'm going to go do some work, but before I go, know that George Will seems as upset by Schwarzenegger's election as I am, although for different reasons, of course.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)
October 08, 2003
Well, except for these items

We know who lied then, but who's lying now, do you think? Is Rumsfeld going down?

And did we or didn't we? We'll probably never know.

The bottom line on the Bush Administration's regressive 'moral' objections to abortion is that they're willing to kill people to defend their position and they don't much care how many people. After all, the dead people are all women and they're all poor. What do they matter? (Actually, I guess poor people of either gender are pretty irrelevant when stacked up against a useless and outdated prudery.

It's like Iraq. We'd like the money and troops from other countries, but we don't think that entitles them to a say in what happens.

And, speaking of Iraq, the WMD are still MIA but if you have enough SA-7s, they'd probably do the trick. Someone has the SA-7s, we just don't know who.

It's the New Republic (by blogdom's own Daniel Drezner) against The Weekly Standard (William Kristol). Contrasting views brought to us by the CBS news website.

And it looks like K Street has been convinced that Big Business needs to help the Republicans get Bush's judiciary nominees through.

Someone in Canada thinks the media's silence on l'affaire Plame is verrrry suspicious. Even now, when it appears that the story has finally captured the media's attention, Zerbisias points out that the attention in question is the media's usual incestuous (my word) fascination with itself and not, in fact, any kind of journalistic probing into what actually happened.

Someone else in Canada is arguing that the right to marry the consenting adult human of your choice isn't a "human rights" issue at all. I agree with him, in the terms he's phrased his argument.

My biggest problem with this letter of complaint to Colin Powell is the way the writer seems to be blaming Powell personally for what they think the USofA State Department did in 1948. Other than that, it's an interesting view of an Israeli perspective of the current land wars.

And this is an interesting perspective of Bush's re-election prospects.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
A moment of silence

I may spend the entire day mourning the idiocy of the California voter.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:50 AM | Comments (5)
October 07, 2003
It's Here!

Yep, the circus is in town. It's time for the distasteful, disgraceful recall vote in California to get underway. It could be an echo of Election 2000, if a really close race requires a close count of absentee ballots drags things out for a few extra weeks.

Yes, I think most places count absentee ballots, but not all of them do and certainly not if an election isn't close. I used to "vote by mail" but I'm thinking of going to the polls again because I'm starting to wonder if my vote is being counted.

It's not that I think any particular election would have gone differently or anything, it's just that I think if someone is elected, they should know how much of the vote they got, or didn't get. I think counting every vote is important.

Wherever WMD show up next, we can probably blame the Pentagon for it.

Alternet is right. This NYT article on wasteful spending in Iraq is well worth reading.

I heard about this story on the way home last night. It's hard to believe that a man who was as big a monster as we've been told still has so much support, but there you go. There are dittoheads in every culture and they have to follow someone. (Yes, I know all about the Sunni – Shi'ite problem, so don't write and explain I'm oversimplifying the problem. You know how I feel about people who use superstition as a reason to kill each other.)

And some problems don't offer easy solutions. You can't tell the soldiers not to shoot back. You can't leave Saddam loyalists running around the country in huge numbers, not when you failed to apprehend Saddam himself. And you cannot kill hundreds of innocent bystanders if you have any desire at all to win the support of the people. It would be hell to be a soldier in any war, much less one like this.

Okay, nothing we're actually doing seems to be winning the support of the Iraqi people, but it's a complex society with a bitter history. Creating a propaganda czar isn't going to change that. Nor is anything else this Administration is doing. The bottom line is that they (the White House) have no idea what they're doing in Iraq.

Graham is dropping out of the race. That's a shame. In spite of his lower standing in the polls, I thought he was one of the better candidates for the nomination and the White House.

Is there a war on the poor? Well, yeah, there is. There are those, mentioning no names of anyone in the White House or their friends and advisors, who think the way to deal with poverty is to make empty speeches and buy a few more bombs.

Krugman is on firm ground today as he discusses economics. Very interesting column.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
October 06, 2003
More of the same

I've never been the world's biggest fan of Buzzflash but today's front page, featuring as it does, stories from the National Enquirer and the U.K.'s Daily Mail, is a new low.

I don't know if I'll buy the book, but these excerpts from Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? make the idea very tempting. (My slushpile stays at 12 books at the moment, since I've been fixated on The Last Best Hope for over a month now. I'm currently halfway through it for the second time.)

Okay, brace yourself. The Water Wars are still on.

"If there is some evidence it's a problem, we'll take a hard look at it," said John Keys, director of the Bureau of Reclamation, only last week. "We've been saying since last year that we're not sure more water would do the fish any good."

He's quite right, of course. The fish are dead now, about 30,000 of them, so water isn't going to do them any good. Problem solved.

And it's a good thing the White House is reorganizing how they do things in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe when soldiers are told they can go home, the new group can make sure there's actually transport available for them.

Democracy isn't dead, by the way. It's limping a bit, and sometimes the Bush Administration seems to be trying to kneecap it, but if the DoD loses a First Amendment suit, then you know the core values are still in place.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
Good news, bad news

The good news is that the press is finally concentrating on Schwarzenegger's actual political history. The bad news, as you'll see from the link, is that it's the alternative press and most California voters aren't going to be seeing this before they walk into the polling booth.

Face it, the man really doesn't have a plan for California. He just wants to be in office and that's a lousy reason to elect someone. He's an egomaniac. (Reading that reputed "admiration for Hitler" quote closely proves it. He didn't want to be be Hitler. He didn't even care about Hitler, as is obvious to anyone paying attention to the words. The image Arnie was focused on was being surrounded by thousands upon thousands of adoring fans.)

Fortunately, even though "groping" isn't what I think is really wrong with him as a candidate, the "groping" accusations do, at least, seem to be making some voters think twice and might be enough to keep him out of office.

(I'm not concerned with the "groping" charges in the same way others seem to be. Was it disgusting? Yes, without question. But let me tell all of you little naïfs living in fantasyland that that's what life is like on a movie set, and a surprising number of television show sets, okay?

Sexism, discrimination, and on-going harassment are facts of life for women working in that industry and those of you who don't know it need to wake up and smell the greasepaint. Those women, for the most part, have to 'go along to get along.' It's the climate of the industry and Arnold, under those circumstances, is no more a "predator" than a few thousand other men in LA. All Arnold is guilty of is ambition. Even if he'd felt such behavior was wrong, and it's pretty clear he didn't, at the time, he didn't want to upset his own burgeoning career by making waves.)

Overseas, bad news for the USofA is frequently good news for others.

Good sense won out over faux patriotism in the squabble over a cellular phone system for Iraq.

On the other hand, it's bad news all around when governments shut down newspapers and demand that citizens read only pro-government propaganda. (Fortunately, in spite of the ditto-heads and knee-jerk 'patriots' in this country, we don't yet suffer from this Zimbabwe's problem.)

It's also bad news for the USofA when Russia is so worried about the mess we're creating in Iraq that they're publicly discussing their own failures to illustrate the danger we're in.

It's very bad news for Bush's "roadmap" that Israel seems determined to start a war. They've shelled Syria in a pre-emptive strike on terror. Nice to see the world follwing our example, I guess.

The old road map is "in tatters" because of...wait for it...inconsistency. This administration? Inconsistent? Who'd have believed it?

(Not that Israel didn't have provocation, of course. But I wonder which side we'll come down on?)

The Moscow Times takes a few amusing potshots at two-percent Dick Cheney.

There's a potential for really good, or really bad news depending on what happens with the critical cases the Supreme Court will be hearing this term. (And another story.) As you might suspect, the gerrymandering and campaign finance are the two I'll be watching the most closely. (As far as hte Pledge goes, just yank out those two words, since they ruin the scansion of the verse anyhow, or return to any of several of the earlier, non-religious versions.)

As Ralph Nader points out, Bush-the-President is the man Bush-the-governor ran against in Texas, proving that Arnie's not the only opportunist in the public eye at the moment (if anyone doubted it).

And there's yet more bad news for Bush as yet another ethics scandal struggles to surface. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of crooks.

Are Senate Republicans starting to eat their own young? Well, of course not. But they're eying each other with 'lean andangry looks' which, quite honestly, does my heart good.

Here's a cursory scandal scorecard for those having trouble figuring out the patterns. Safire also takes a stab at explaining leaks.

Finally, I can't speak for today's students, but I was the victim of an early version of this "game" and it made a lasting impression on me.

In the earlier version, the "game" was simpler – merely an attempt to illustrate to twelve year-olds how it feels to be "shunned" or "unpopular." Unfortunately, it was played without the targeted students being told what was going on, so rather than learning a lesson about intolerance, I and the others chosen as the "shunned," who were not, in fact, the class bullies or the "popular" kids, but kides already familiar with being, as it were, on the "outside," were simply taught that grown-ups were randomly mean and hostile and friends not always trustworthy.

Somehow, I'm not sure that's the lesson that was intended.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)