December 14, 2003

- - Spoiling the Party - -

Previous post notwithstanding, this piece from Occupation Watch is the best news I've heard in weeks. Excerpt:

Southern Oil Company Trade Unionists have declared their workplaces a no-go zone for Halliburton, formerly headed by US Vice President Dick Cheney's, subsidiary Kellog Brown and Root. KBR was give a no-bid contract by USAID to reconstruct bomb-shattered oil refineries and installations in Iraq. Included in the contracts was authorization to export and market Iraqi Oil. The SOC Union however, representing over 10,000 workers has banned all KBR representatives and foreign workers from entering their sites. SOC Union Head Hassan Jum'a says, ''Till this moment we haven't needed any foreigners to come in. We can do everything ourselves'.

Elsewhere, US News & World Report's Christopher H. Schmitt and Edward T. Pound detail how government continues to be sucked into the black hole by The Cheney Gang. Excerpts:

For the past three years, the Bush administration has quietly but efficiently dropped a shroud of secrecy across many critical operations of the federal government--cloaking its own affairs from scrutiny and removing from the public domain important information on health, safety, and environmental matters. The result has been a reversal of a decades-long trend of openness in government while making increasing amounts of information unavailable to the taxpayers who pay for its collection and analysis . . .

Beyond the well-publicized cases involving terrorism suspects, the administration is aggressively pursuing secrecy claims in the federal courts in ways little understood--even by some in the legal system. The administration is increasingly invoking a "state secrets" privilege that allows government lawyers to request that civil and criminal cases be effectively closed by asserting that national security would be compromised if they proceed. It is impossible to say how often government lawyers have invoked the privilege. But William Weaver, a professor at the University of Texas-El Paso, who recently completed a study of the historical use of the privilege, says the Bush administration is asserting it "with offhanded abandon." In one case, Weaver says, the government invoked the privilege 245 times. In another, involving allegations of racial discrimination, the Central Intelligence Agency demanded, and won, return of information it had provided to a former employee's attorneys--only to later disclose the very information that it claimed would jeopardize national security.

In Pravda, Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey editorializes about the poverty of Rummy's strategy for Afghanistan. Excerpt:

Donald Rumsfeld himself is not devoid of blame in the disaster called Afghanistan. He was a member of the governments which actively supported the Mujaheddin movement to topple the democratic and progressive government of Dr. Najibullah in Kabul, which the Soviet Armed Forces were called upon to protect. It was Rumsfeld's governments that created the chaos which would see Afghanistan spin out of control and the Mujaheddin transform into the Taleban and 1.5 million people dead or injured, in another blatant example of Washington's disastrous external policy.

Duncan Campbell of The Guardian reminds us of our history in "Kissinger approved Argentinian 'dirty war': Declassified US files expose 1970s backing for junta." Excerpts:

The revelations, which were also announced at a conference in Argentina yesterday, confirm suspicions at the time that the regime would not have continued to carry out atrocities unless it had the tacit approval of the US, on which it was dependent for financial and military aid.

The junta, which ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983, fell after the military's defeat in the Falklands war. During its period in power an estimated 30,000 people may have been arrested, tortured and killed. Many bodies have never been found.

David Friedman, writing for DU, says that Karl Rove is "Ari Fliescher on crack." I love it! Excerpts:

With Rove it is always smoke and mirrors. And the most important rule of all... IGNORE HYPOCRISY. This more than anything defines the Neocon movement in so many ways. Just ask true fiscal-conservatives boiling mad over out-of-control spending by the Bush administration - at the same time Neocons in Bush's camp say Howard Dean is a tax-and-spend liberal. All of this, of course, designed to show supposed strength and invincibility. Eventually, if the other side goes along, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kudos to the Rove strategy. It works well.

So, how do you fight that?

You don't fight that, you can't. You just smile, point it out, and remind everyone it's dirty politics . . .

There's a reason they describe Bush as a CEO President, it's because he is. It's his style. It's Cheney's style. It's Condi's style. It's Rove's style. Image is everything in the corporate world. Never let them see you sweat. Business is booming. Strength, strength, strength. The arrow is pointing up. We've made up some charts and graphs to prove it.

It's a cut-throat world out there, and Bushco fits right in. Cheney's statement on having to work with "undesirables" in the war on terror sounded more like a secret business strategy than moral leadership. Don Evans speaking of rolling out their Iraq strategy as "new marketing" just before 2002 elections was a rare moment of non-spun corporate truth. Bush's Thanksgiving in Baghdad and Mission Accomplished fiascos made for glowing press releases, but said nothing about the condition of his corporate empire.

On the ground, riverbend of Baghdad Burning tells us what it's REALLY like. Excerpts (from before Saddam got pinched):

The electricity has been terrible lately- it comes in fits and starts. The moment it goes off, we start running around the house unplugging things and flicking off the power switches- you don't want anything to be turned on when the power comes back either too high or too low. That's why I've been blogging less often. Every time there's electricity, we remember a long list of things that can only be done in an electrical world… like vacuum. Some say it's not only Baghdad- the north also seem to be having continuous electricity problems . . .

The big problem now is that gasoline is hard to come by. This is a very frustrating issue for Iraqis. Gasoline was like water here. In fact, bottled water used to be far more expensive than gasoline and admittedly still is. The lines at the gas stations are long and tedious. E. and my cousin sometimes go to fill up the car and disappear for hours at a time. The gasoline is necessary for running the generators and now they're going to start rationing it. This will mean that within days, the price of gas is going to go up because people will start selling black market gasoline. (ed. note: it'll probably STILL cost less than what KBR is charging.)

Be at peace.