Unhappily ever aftermath

by Barry Crimmins
Reprinted from the Boston Phoenix.com, with permission of the author.

Once upon a time in 2002, things got worse before they got better

The year 2002 was like a fairy tale — the middle of a fairy tale, when despair grows exponentially with each turn of the page. Just a year after the usurping of the throne, sinister forces continued dismantling all that was ever good and decent within the fallen kingdom of America. And so the dark shadow that was 2001 grew longer until our nation became engulfed by starless, moonless, unremitting night. At year’s end, many of us fear we may never see another metaphorical sunrise.

Global insecurity

Reprinted from YellowTimes.org.

Shoulder-fired missiles are now being used as a new weapon in the fight against globalization. On November 28, two missiles were fired at an Israeli charter jet carrying 271 tourists as it took off from the Mombasa airport in Kenya. Both missed their target. Shortly after, a car bomb destroyed a tourist hotel in Mombasa, killing 16 people. By targeting tourists and civil aircraft, these attacks are further attempts to endanger the global economy.

Oil money threatens to make killing fields of Kazakhstan

by Paul Brown
guardian unlimited

'Wild east' could end the west's dependence on Opec but at a heavy cost

The largest oil find for more than 20 years - almost the size of the world's biggest, the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia - is being developed in the Caspian.

The first oil from the Kashagan field is expected to be brought ashore by 2005 but, although it should provide a strategic alternative to the Middle East, its importance has hardly been recognised.

The scramble for the gas and oil riches of the Caspian Sea has dubbed it the "wild east" but the potential and problems have remained hidden.

Iraq's Nuclear Non-capability

by Imad Khadduri
Reprinted from YellowTimes.org.

As the war storm against Iraq swirls and gathers momentum, seeded by the efforts of the American and British governments, serious doubts arise as to the credibility of their intelligence sources, particularly the issue of Iraq's nuclear capability. It has been often noted that reliable intelligence on this matter is not immediately forthcoming. Moreover, such intelligence as has been presented is spurious and often contradictory. Perhaps it is not too late to rectify this misinformation campaign.

A Dark Week For Democracy

by Will Hutton
guardian unlimited

The stranglehold the far Right has now taken on America will make it a more divided, reactionary and illiberal country

The election in Georgia said it all. The Democrat governor, Roy Barnes, had dared to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag last year. His Republican challenger wanted to bring it back, to honour, he said, 300,000 Confederate 'veterans'. A Republican has not occupied Georgia's governor's mansion since 1872. After last Tuesday, one does, courtesy of wanting to celebrate a civil war fought to defend slavery.

Europeans do not understand the curious civilisation that the current America is becoming, and the grip that a visceral and idiosyncratic conservatism has on its national discourse. They especially do not understand the undercurrents of an increasingly self-confident and subtle racism that is its own variant of the forces that in Europe gave us Le Pen and Pim Fortuyn. George Bush Jnr is a chip off the old multilateralist, transatlantic establishment, runs the European argument. He may seem hawkishly conservative but, in the end, he seeks UN resolutions like other American Presidents. Even at home, his bark is worse than his bite.

Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

Malleable Facts

From cooked corporate books to cooked-up "intelligence," the Bush administration is on its way to making dishonesty the dominant characteristic of its term in office. The usual onslaught of campaign rhetoric has compounded the falsehoods. On October 22, Washington Post White House reporter Dana Milbank, in what one can only hope will be a harbinger of more critical reporting from the mainstream press, cited a series of false statements Bush has made recently while campaigning for Republican candidates. Bearing the headline "For Bush, Facts Are Malleable" Milbank's article highlighted eight Bush statements this fall alone that are factually inaccurate, omit crucial qualifying information that mitigate the thrust of the statement, or use logical fallacy to misrepresent the truth. The validity of Milbank's critique can be gauged by the White House response, quietly initiating a smear campaign, while Press Secretary Ari Fleischer took the rare step of responding publicly with a letter to the Post. True to Bush's "corporate" model of government, however, Republican spokepeople and campaigns throughout the country have followed his lead in bombarding the electorate with untruths as mid-term Election Day approaches.

Memo emerges to haunt president

by David Teather
guardian unlimited

George Bush quashed evidence in the insider dealing inquiry he faced a decade ago, it was claimed yesterday, further undermining White House efforts to restore some confidence in Wall Street.

A memo has emerged that was sent by lawyers in 1990 that warned executives of the energy firm Harken, for which Mr Bush was a director, against cashing in stock if they had any negative information about the company.

Harken was undertaking financial engineering to keep it afloat at the time.

A week later the president cashed in $848,000 of shares.

Don't Change the Subject

"I know there's this kind of intense speculation that seems to be going on, kind of, I don't know how you would describe it. It's kind of a churning frenzy." Thus spake Dubya on August 21 regarding media coverage of policy options on Iraq. The irony, as Norman Solomon noted the next day, writing for TomPaine.com, is that if Bush's observation was accurate, the "frenzy" was being fueled by his own administration. "Bush's comment was akin to a pyromaniac complaining about the smell of smoke," he wrote. Jim Jordan, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee agreed "They're throwing red meat at their base," he said. "The administration refuses to discuss or engage on any subject but the war." The White House has denied that Bush is using the threat of war and the public's associated fears for partisan purposes. "You'd have to be hard-pressed to say the president has been 'partisan'," said White House communications director Daniel J. Bartlett. "He's talking about what he's for and what he thinks the United States needs for an active agenda. He's clearly not talking about it in the context of the war, and I think it's an important distinction. The president is talking about our national goals and he's going to do that in public appearances, and I think that's what the American people want to hear, and I think they make a distinction between what is traditional campaign politics and the president speaking to the people."

Taxpayer Mugging for Political Fundraising

by Michael Taylor

We've just been mugged again, folks. And the pickpocket is so good that once again many of us never had a clue. As elections draw nearer, expect to see many other cities with volatile Senate races undergo repeated, mindless assaults to their unstable budgets in the form of "fund-raising events". Incident by incident, the costs may not seem so enormous, but when it is all added up in the end, the partisan process that allows our President and Vice President to support and attend unlimited fund-raising events for politicians throughout the country largely at taxpayer expense robs each and every one of us without our consent.

Baghdad's Think-Tank Bomb

by John Chuckman
Reprinted from YellowTimes.org.

An independent think-tank in Britain, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, has published a report on Iraq's nuclear capabilities. The report, which the Prime Minister's office termed "highly significant," was produced without access to the files of Britain's intelligence services. It made headlines in many Western papers. The BBC's Internet site made it top story.


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