Friday, January 20, 2006

69 years ago (1.20.1937) 

Franklin D. Roosevelt:
…I see a great nation, upon a great continent, blessed with a great wealth of natural resources…I see a United States which can demonstrate that, under democratic methods of government, national wealth can be translated into a spreading volume of human comforts hitherto unknown…But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens…who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life…The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little…

Second Inaugural Address,
Wednesday, January 20, 1937

"This is an impressive crowd, the haves -- and the have mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." ~ George W. Bush, Oct. 19, 2000; Alfred E. Smith memorial dinner, NY NY.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

River Power, Rival Power and Naked Power 

3 to read:

An Energy Source Both Cheap and Eco-Friendly
Mario Osava

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 18 (IPS) - Very low-cost electricity that is not just clean but potentially beneficial for the environment, and comes from a flexible source that can be set up on any river without altering its course is the promise a Canadian company made in Brazil this week.

Presented as "revolutionary" technology, the most important means of generating power "in the near future" is a floating turbine, developed in Brazil by Eco Hydro Energy Ltd., a company based in Vancouver, Canada.

Bush Seeks His Enemies' Help in Iraq
Analysis by Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (IPS) - To avoid failure of its mission in Iraq, the George W. Bush administration has been driven to seek the help of two major enemies -- the Sunni insurgents and the government of Iran -- but both initiatives have failed to make progress because officials were not given any real negotiating authority.


Administration policymakers have apparently recognised that, without the help of Iran and the Sunni insurgent leaders, it faces the likelihood of spiraling sectarian violence, undiminished Sunni armed resistance, al Qaeda terrorist havens and predominant Iranian political influence.

Read this Mel Seeholtz op-ed in full (You won't be sorry):
Op-Ed: Humor and the Christian Right, in all Seriousness
By Mel Seeholtz
January 18, 2006


The pathology of Pastor Storms' perverted notion of "God" was the subject of a recent BBC series - "The God Delusion," "The Root of All Evil," "The Virus of Faith" - by Richard Dawkins, Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University and internationally renown biologist.

Dr. Dawkins has repeatedly warned that U.S. evangelicals represent "Christian fascism" and "an American Taliban" that seeks to emulate and enforce "The God of the Old Testament [who] has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous, and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist." Fear of this curmudgeonly "God" is then embedded into children's psyche: beware the bogeyman who watches everything you do and just looks for ways to punish you in the most horrific ways.

In the New Testament, Dawkins noted that "St Paul's nasty, sado-masochistic doctrine of atonement for original sin" is, essentially, psychological and emotional child abuse: "Innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods. ... It's time to question the abuse of childhood innocence with superstitious ideas of hellfire and damnation."

Recall the words of evangelical Christian Nathan Powers in defending the spirituality of his nudist lifestyle: "I am how God made me." Organized religions' dogma, rites and rituals are filled with man-made perversions of "God's" creative wishes, as the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong, a leading spokesman for progressive Christianity, noted in relation to circumcision:


4 In Addition - Free Jill Carroll:

Hostage video ignites wide call to free Carroll

Wednesday, the umbrella group for a number of leading Sunni clerics condemned the Jan. 7 kidnapping

By Peter Grier and Gregory Lamb | Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON – Calls for the release of kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll poured in from around the world on Wednesday following the broadcast of a brief video showing her in captivity.

Those calling upon her abductors in Iraq to show mercy included senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, and some of Iraq's most influential Sunni Arab leaders, including Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Accordance Front.


In Cairo the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement saying that Carroll - as well as other journalists - should not be targeted by insurgents.

"We call upon the brothers in the Iraqi resistance not to target media workers," said the statement. "This contradicts the principles of our religion and doesn't help the cause of liberating the country".

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is the most powerful Islamist opposition group in the Arab world, and it has affiliations with Islamic political parties and organizations throughout the region.


Also condemning the kidnapping and threats against Jill was Muthana Harith al-Dari, a leader of Iraq's Muslim Scholars Association, an umbrella group for a number of leading Sunni clerics, or Ulama.

Mr. Dari said kidnapping is always wrong and called for Jill's immediate release.

"All kidnappings and assassinations are completely rejected... especially when kidnapping a journalist. Journalists are here to tell the world about the occupation so kidnapping a journalist is going to hide the truth," Dari, who acts as the association's spokesman, told Al Sharqiya television in Iraq.

Full story: CS Monitor


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Love Parole, Really I Do. 

Avast, me hearties. I see the thug machine is crumbling since I paid my debt to society, although my crime was victimless whereas theirs was not. Ahhh, America. Where two people can consent to an action without coercion--by mutual consent and with no "collateral damage"--and be busted for it.

I don't know what's happened to corrente while modeling my orange jumpsuit, but I see farmer is on the job. My throwaway email expired, so alas...

My sights are on victory in '06--victory national, state, local. And although I can't vote without a petition process, I still have feet to stump (although one is broken).

My blessings and best wishes to all of you, and, rest assured, they haven't beaten the fight out of me. Nor should they you.

Karen Rules 

The Karen Hughes memo (with some real time situation reports from Joseph Goebbels):

UNCLASSIFIED STATE 00006202 [122316Z JAN 06] FOR COMS, DCMS and PAOS from Karen Hughes

Subject: Speaking on the Record

1. During my recent trips and meetings with many of you, I have heard concerns about problems with getting clearance to speak on the record to reporters. I promised I would send out a message clarifying my policy on this issue, and providing what I hope is clear guidance for you all in dealing with the press. In this message, I want to share "Karen's Rules" in the hope that you all will have a better idea of what I expect, and how you can react.

JAN 19, 1939: Thouroughly study a fat report about propaganda abroad. Much is being achieved in this area. (page 5)

OCT 24, 1939: Meet with eight holders of the Iron Cross from the Propaganda Companies. They describe the shortcomings that continue to affect the Propaganda Companies' work. These are caused more by personnel problems than any failure of organization. I shall correct these step by step. (page 28)

2. Rule #1: Think advocacy. I want all of you to think of yourselves as advocates for America's story each day. I encourage you to have regular sessions with your senior team to think about the public diplomacy themes of each event or initiative. As a communicator, I know that it is important to get out in front of an issue or at best have a strong response to a negative story. One of my goals during my tenure at the State Department is to change our culture from one in which risk is avoided with respect to the press to one where speaking out and engaging with the media is encouraged and rewarded. I want you out frequently in front of the cameras, in the columns of your local and regional press and mobilizing your staff to wake up every morning with media in mind. As President Bush and Secretary Rice have stated, public diplomacy is the job of every ambassador and every Foreign Service officer.

JAN 7, 1940: Study huge quantities of letters about our foreign radio broadcasts. Thouroughly good and positive. We must expand this area of operations. (page 89)

OCT 10, 1940: A few cultural films. And Ritter's Above All the World. Absolutely naive and primitive, but could well be a big hit with the public. Ritter says patriotic things with a lack of inhibition that would have anyone else blushing. A few things have to be changed. (page 137)

Dec 6, 1940: We step up propaganda in praise of our radio service and the film industry. I am continuing my relentless struggle to ensure that our entire news apparatus stamps hard on public over-optimism about an early end to the war. If such hopes are not fulfilled, then we shall reap a bitter harvest in future.

There have been complaints that the KdF variety shows are too vulgar, and that the comperes are too fond of smutty jokes. Also, naked dancing is creeping back into shows, even in the countryside, in completely perverted forms. I intervene with all vigour, not for moral reasons but on the grounds of good taste. (page 194)

3. Rule #2: Use what's out there. You are always on sure ground if you use what the President, Secretary Rice, Sean McCormack, or any USG spokesman has already said on a particular subject. I always read recent statements by key officials on important subjects before I do press events. My Echo Chamber messages are meant to provide you clear talking points in a conversational format on the 'hot' issues of the day. You never need clearance to background a journalist though you should certainly pay careful attention to how your comments may be used.

JAN 3, 1940: I explain the essentials of propaganda to the press conference yet again. Fritzsche is often too literary for my taste. He fails to properly understand the value of repetition in propaganda. One must constantly be repeating the same thing in different forms. The public is basically very conservative. It must be thouroughly saturated with our views by constant repetition. Until the message sticks. Only then can one be sure of success. (page 84)

4. Rule #3: Think local. Because your key audience is your local--or regional--audience, you do not need clearance to speak to any local media, print, or television. And, you do not need clearance to speak to U.S. media in your country if you are quoting a senior official who has spoken on the record on a particular subject. When you are in the U.S., you do need PA clearance to speak to major U.S. media.

MARCH 4, 1939: I give some more thought to constructing new, more powerful radio transmitters. (page 10)

Rule #4: Use common sense to respond to natural disasters or tragedies. You do not need to get Department clearance to express condolences in the event of a loss, or express sympathy and support in response to a natural disaster. Obviously in the latter case do not commit USG resources for support or relief without approval from the Department; but do not wait for Department authorization to offer a statement of sympathy unless the individual or incident is controversial.

OCT 1, 1940: Serious problems of evacuation of children from Berlin. The NSV has proceeded very clumsily in this area and has created enormous discontent. And I had expressly ordered that the process should be carried out without compulsion. I summon the ten Berlin Kreisleiters and read them the riot act. They are to warn the local Party branches immediately and bring order into the situation. Unfortunately we cannot clear matters up through the press. But I hope things will work out, even so. [...] The mood here is also volatile. The child-evacuation problem has caused us some setbacks. Mothers are becoming nervous, and that is a bad sign. But I shall soon make up the lost ground. (pages 125 - 126)

OCT 2, 1940: My announcement in the press has now clarified the problem of child evacuees in Berlin. Complete peace has been restored. The announcement was absolutely necessary. Saturday's false air-raid alarm has also been investigated. It was due to lack of foresight. I make an enormous fuss and order some major changes. (page 127)

OCT 5, 1940: More rumours in Berlin about gas attacks and evacuation of children. However, I take vigorous counter-measures and have the rumour-mongers locked up. (page 131)

6. Rule #5: Don't make policy. This is a sensitive area about which you need to be careful. Do not get out in front of USG policymakers on an issue, even if you are speaking to local press. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is "don't make policy or usurp the prerogative of the Secretary or a senior Washington policy-maker to set policy direction." When in doubt on a policy shift, seek urgent guidance from PA or your regional public diplomacy office. Use your judgment and err on the side of caution.

OCT 5, 1940: Stupid business in Vienna: our spokesman in Vienna has written a very foolish, buy very caustic article in one of the local newspapers, attacking Berlin, its way of life, and its people. Without any apparent cause. Schirach calls me up as a result, absolutely furious. I give him full powers to remove the man from his post immediately and take him into custody for a few days. (page 132)

7. Rule #6: No surprises. You should always give [the Office of Public Affairs] a heads-up in the event that you speak to U.S.-based media, particularly in the case of on the record television interviews. This ensures that those who should know are in the loop on what is happening.

JAN 16, 1940: The radio has made some psychological errors. I ensure that this does not occur again. One must be incredibly careful in this area, so as not to give away one's hand before the time comes. (page 95)

8. Rule #7. Enlist the help of my office if you don't get a quick response for clearance or help. My staff and I are here to support you in your efforts to get the USG position on the record and out in the media. Both Sean McCormack and I are committed to making sure you have what you need to advocate a U.S. position on the key issues at your post.

JAN 16, 1940: Discuss propaganda abroad with Schwarz van Berk. He is now working as a 'neutral' journalist, writing articles aimed at world opinion. I give him clear guidelines. He must not go into detail, but must provide more colour than news. At the moment we must titillate rather than inform. (page 96)

9. I know this is a departure from how you all have operated over the years. But forceful advocacy of U.S. interests and positions is critical to our effort to marginalize the extremists and share a positive vision of hope for all countries and people. I encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to speak out, and look forward to our aggressive promotion of U.S. policy.

JAN 28, 1940: The Times provides yet another glowing testimonial to my propaganda. (page 105)

MARCH 26, 1941: ...Address propagandists of the AO from all European countries. I clarify their propaganda tasks in the world. Great applause. (page 281)

MAY 27, 1939: Yesterday: I order attacks on the foreign press for their lies about alleged flooding on our West Wall. Otherwise a myth will establish itself. My essay, The 'Encirclers', is now to be reprinted throughout our press. For the rest, all is rather quiet on the polemical front. (page 12)

All dated excerpts - quoted text in boxes above - by Joseph Goebbels. From The Goebbels Diaries 1939-1941; Translated and Edited by Fred Taylor; published 1983.

More on "Karen's Rules" from David Corn. See: Can Karen Hughes Spin the CIA Attack in Pakistan?


Monday, January 16, 2006

Open Stage 

"Oppression by it's very nature creates the power that crushes it."


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bachelet wins in Chile 

Uh oh! This will send the little sawed off scrubs at the Heritage Foundation and the "Chicago School" scampering for a change of underpants:

Chile electing first woman president - early results
Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:46 PM ET
Chileans vote for new president
By Fiona Ortiz

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Michelle Bachelet was on her way to becoming Chile's first woman president on Sunday, taking more than half of the vote with two-thirds of polling stations counted.

Bachelet, the socialist candidate for Chile's ruling center-left coalition, had 53.22 percent of the votes, based on a tally of 67 percent of polling stations, the government Electoral Service said.


Bachelet, imprisoned and tortured during the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, will be the fourth consecutive president from the center-left coalition that formed in the 1980s to oppose Pinochet. It has run the copper-producing country of 16 million people since Pinochet stepped down in 1990.

Supporters began celebrating at Bachelet's downtown election headquarters immediately after the official results were read out live on television.

A Bachelet victory would consolidate a shift to the left in Latin America, where leftists now run Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela, some with politics more extreme than others. A socialist will soon take office in Bolivia and a leftist is favored to win Mexico's presidential election in July. Reuters


Chile's Bachelet Becomes Nation's First Woman Leader
Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Michelle Bachelet won election in Chile, becoming the nation's first woman president after pledging to help students, workers and retirees benefit from the copper- rich country's economic growth.

Bachelet, a former defense minister who leads the coalition that ousted Augusto Pinochet from power in 1990, garnered 53 percent of the vote with more than half of ballots counted, the government said. Opposition candidate Sebastian Pinera, who won 47 percent of ballots in today's run-off, conceded the election.

The next president will take power with the highest credit rating in Latin America, a seventh year of economic expansion under way and a record budget surplus because of a surge in prices for copper, Chile's top export. Bachelet, the second woman ever elected president in South America, said she will use that revenue to help almost 3 million poor in a country where workers earn an average of $522 a month. Bloomberg

Holy Condor Condi! Grease the Fear & Smear Media Machine! Launch the drone planes! Mine the harbors! Unleash the death squads Herr Rumsfeld! Everyone to the bunker! Mumbling Dick will be soliciting assasination plots and serving hot coup d'etats at the stroke of midnight! “We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly... (in) weeks rather than months.” Viva Pinochet! Viva "creative destruction"!


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