November 20, 2003

I Read the News Today, Oh My! - -

This IPS article by Thalif Dean begins:

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 19 (IPS) - The U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) will get control of billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenues beginning midnight Friday when it formally takes over the seven-year-old, U.N. administered "oil-for-food'' programme (OFFP).

The United Nations has already transferred three billion dollars from the programme to the CPA-managed Iraqi Development Fund (IDF), and will send another 1.6 billion dollars Friday.

The programme had been generating seven to 10 billion dollars annually in oil revenues, but proceeds from oil sales will now end up in the coffers of the CPA, headed by U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer.

Gotta tell yuh . . . after reading this piece I'm just amazed (but not at all surprised) at USX's skill at turning the old murderous sanctions program into windfall revenue for itself.

CBS News Editorial Director has this to say about class warfare. Excerpt:

I believe there is now a professional, well-trained elite, supported by large institutions, that is adept and willing to use corrupt practices to accumulate wealth. Despite assurances from game-theorists and anthropologists that the criminal cadre in the species remains a constant percentage over time, I believe today's mainstream, sanitized, and institutionally sanctioned financial crime rackets are being run by a new breed of crook. There have always been scandals and crooks in the history of American money, but our predator class is a distinct creation of the late 20th century.

I believe there is no way the counter-class made up of regulators, watchdogs and do-gooders and hack columnists can match wits with the predator class. Today's piles of money are so huge, great fortunes can be amassed by swiping the tiniest of slices in the wiliest of ways long before picked pockets are discovered.

I fail to understand why the Left has been so reluctant to call a spade a spade. Why do we cringe every time someone says "liberal" or "radical" or "class war"? When Democrats protested (not very strongly, though) the tax cuts for the rich, Doubleduh was able to silence them by accusing them of waging class war. Damn right it's a class war!

The Cheney Gang continues to claim that Iraq resistance is supported by "foreign" terrorists coming into the country. According to the NYT, USX generals on the ground disagree. Excerpt:

During a period in which border patrols have been intensified and new technology is being used, that number suggests only modest foreign incursions into Iraq, in contrast to estimates by the Bush administration.

In Washington late last month, officials estimated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq at 1,000 to 3,000, and the White House has been suggesting that foreign fighters are continuing to enter the country and are behind many of the attacks, linking the war in Iraq to the global campaign against terror.

(If you're blocked from NYT online because you don't have a subscription, you can read the article here.)

- - Ouch!! - -

From DU, this Susan Mazur piece about Doubleduh and his daddy's old company, The Carlyle Group is absolutely priceless. Carlyle calls itself the "world's largest private equity firm" and is the 11th largest defense contractor in America as majority shareholder in United Defense. The piece excerpts a speech given by David Rubenstein, Carlyle's managing director. Excerpt:

We put him on the board and [he] spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years - you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.

He said, well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.

And I said, thanks - didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush. He became President of the United States. So you know if you said to me, name 25 million people who would maybe be President of the United States, he wouldn't have been in that category. So you never know. Anyway, I haven't been invited to the White House for any things.

So . . . you really think The Cheney Gang answers to this guy?

Be at peace.