Friday, January 16, 2004

No sensible reason for this post:

Went to NBC to check out what Meet the Press had scheduled. Noticed the beady-eyed Russert - staring out. Staring out at all of us. Staring. Almost like a hypnotist.

So, why not jazz it up and turn it into a spooky image?


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tinfoil hat time?

We have been interested in Kevin Phillips new book, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, and so we read several news items related to his book. From the links provided by, we examined:

Kevin Phillips Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times
A book review in the Washington Post (via Just a Bump in the Beltway)
The excerpt provided by Barnes & Noble
And an interview with Phillips on Democracy Now

There's a lot of information and it spans much time and space. Still, we tried to put together most of the moving parts (as Josh Marshall would say) into a single diagram.

NOTE: We might include more details about the Bush family connections to the Saudis/Middle-East-characters/offshore-oil-projects at a later date.

Our opinion? Too early to say. Lots of things look connected and conspiratorial, but in life there are lots of connections. However, Phillips does seem to be onto something when he posits a big sticky ball of spooks, oil-interests, foreign intrigue, and politics - with the Bush family well integrated into it.

We recommend you read the essays and interviews about the book so that you can form your own opinion. We hope this diagram will be an aid in understanding the elements and theories that Kevin Phillips has written about.

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: We are having some problems with image hosting (a directory keeps disappearing) and so the URL for the image might change over the next few days - hopefully still allowing visitors to see the damn thing.)

PRINTING / FORMAT UPDATE: For those who are having trouble viewing (and printing) the image above, we have a smaller-sized diagram that you can view here (and print it in landscape)


Basic English:

plan - noun - a detailed formulation of a program of action
Did the Clinton administration have a plan (filed away somewhere) for toppling Saddam Hussein?
Did the Bush administration have a plan for toppling Saddam Hussein?
plan - verb - to have as a specific aim or purpose; intend: They plan to buy a house.
Did the Clinton administration plan to topple Saddam Hussein?
Did the Bush administration plan to topple Saddam Hussein?
Yes, as early as the first weeks of Bush's term (according to Paul O'Neill).
Conservative pundits would have you believe that there was no difference between Clinton and Bush because they each had a plan (the noun) for toppling Hussein. But the difference is that Clinton did not plan (the verb) to do it. Bush did - right from the start, prior to 9/11 - and the wisdom of that is what is at question.


Point - Counterpoint:

Richard Perle and David Frum wrote a book, An End to Evil. The New York Times reviewed it. Excerpt from the review: (emphasis added)
[The book contains] triumphalist boasts ("the United States has become the greatest of all great powers in world history"), their macho posturing and their willful, flame-throwing language. "There is no middle way for Americans," they write in the opening chapter. "It is victory or holocaust. This book is a manual for victory."

[Perle and Frum] declare that "when it is in our power and our interest, we should toss dictators aside with no more compunction than a police sharpshooter feels when he downs a hostage-taker." Of the United Nations, another one of their nemeses, they write, "The U.N. regularly broadcasts a spectacle as dishonest and morally deadening as a Stalinist show trial, a televised ritual of condemnation that inflames hatreds and sustains quarrels that might otherwise fade away."

Mr. Perle and Mr. Frum argue that America "should force European governments to choose between Paris and Washington," and they assert that Iran is "the world's least trustworthy regime," ominously adding, "The regime must go."

Throughout "An End to Evil" they purvey a worldview of us-versus-them, all-or-nothing, either-or, and this outlook results in a refusal to countenance the possibility that people who do not share the authors' views about the war in Iraq or their faith in a pre-emptive, unilateralist foreign policy might have legitimate reasons for doing so. Instead, Mr. Frum and Mr. Perle accuse those who differ with their foreign-policy beliefs of failing to support the war against terrorism: of being cowardly, delusional or defeatist.


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Campaign 2004:


Al Franken watch:

Last week (Tuesday, 6 January) he was on NPR's Fresh Air discussing his 8-day USO tour in December that had him visiting Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. It was Franken's fourth USO tour in five years, which would seem to make him a bigger patriot than windbag Bill O'Reilly. Has O'Reilly ever entertained the troops? Is it possible for O'Reilly to entertain (as opposed to bloviate)?

This Tuesday, Al Franken will be on the Charlie Rose Show for the entire hour. Should be interesting and amusing.


Sunday, January 11, 2004

Observe the logic:

Get this exchange on Fox News Sunday (11 Jan) between Chris Wallace and Mexico's Vicente Fox:
WALLACE: One of the sorest issues was your opposition to the war in Iraq. Now, after Saddam Hussein's capture and seeing the U.S. trying to establish a democracy there, do you sometimes think that perhaps the president was right and that you were wrong?

FOX: No. No. I think that by different roads you can get to Rome.

The main purpose is to rescue Iraq from the dictator, and that was accomplished. Number two is to move Iraq into a democratic nation, a free nation, with citizens who start enjoying better opportunities to their own development.

And this route, it's working as well as maybe the other one could have worked.

WALLACE: Do you still think there was another way to deal with Saddam Hussein, though, short of invasion?

FOX: Well, I am not sure that we have to go back to the discussions and the positions then. But our position was very clear that multilateralism is a key issue on this 21st century, and it should be enhanced and developed to the better of all nations.