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According to RC

Excellent Article on Permanent Iraq Bases

Hey Kids -- Here is a great FT article by former Sen. Gary Hart on the likelihood that part of Bush's Iraq strategy is the construction of permanent military bases. As Hart explains, it's next to impossible to get a straight answer from the Administration on this -- especially because Congress and the press aren't trying very hard, if at all -- and leaving permanent bases would make the concept of "standing down" when the Iraqis "stand up" far more complex and nuanced. Not to mention the fact that permanent bases are permanent irritants -- and permanent targets. Check it out...

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Posted by ryan c on January 05, 2006 | Comments (222) | TrackBack

NYT and LA Times Articles on US Planting Stories in Iraqi Press

The U.S. military has hired a PR firm to bribe Iraqi newspapers into running pro-US stories ostensibly written by Iraqi citizens by actually written by US soldiers. The LA Times broke the story on Wednesday; the NYT followed up yesterday. Please click below to read the full text of both articles.

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Posted by ryan c on December 02, 2005 | Comments (599) | TrackBack

Frank Rich on the Unfolding of Bush's Lies

In his October 30, 2005 piece in the New York Times (now accessible only to "TimesSelect" subscribers but provided to us courtesy of truthout.org), Frank Rich argues that the Libby indictment is only the beginning of an unfolding scandal involving the Bush Administration's universe of lies surrounding terrorism, homeland security and the war in Iraq. Click below for Rich's full article -- and read to the end for a Novak quote that should make you want to punch faces.

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Posted by ryan c on November 01, 2005 | Comments (197) | TrackBack

Excellent Analysis of New Orleans Disaster

This is an analysis of the shameful lack of preparation for, and mismanagement following, Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing disaster in New Orleans.

It is taken from The Holmes Report, a public relations industry newsletter. I recommend it to any/everyone, especially because it's being read today by thousands of PR people who are responsible for "managing crises" (i.e. making sure that companies and governments know how to deal with crisis situations and, just as importantly in their eyes, "communicate effectively" and "manage the message" during those times).

A key clip: "Perhaps the disaster will force Americans to reexamine their attitudes toward poverty, the emphasis on self-reliance to the exclusion of any sense of shared, community responsibility for the least fortunate in our society. Perhaps it will also cause people to challenge the prevailing wisdom on taxes and public spending."

It's quite long -- I recommend printing it.

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Posted by ryan c on September 06, 2005 | Comments (73) | TrackBack

Half of Iraqi Military Budget Lost to Corruption

I've been away for a few weeks, getting my new blog, The Daily Clips, up and running.

But I had to come back to bring this information, which is getting essentially no attention in the US press, to PD's attention:

"Iraqi investigators have uncovered widespread fraud and waste in more than $1 billion worth of weapons deals, according to a confidential report and interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The deals were arranged by middlemen who allegedly reneged or took huge kickbacks on contracts to arm Iraq’s fledgling military.

The contracts under scrutiny total $1.27 billion, nearly equal to the estimated $1.3 billion allocated for the Defense Ministry’s budget this year. The money came solely from Iraqi coffers, not from the training budget of the U.S. military or from NATO and foreign donations to Iraq’s military."

Cool, huh? Note that this doesn't include money that the US is giving to Iraq-- this is only Iraqi money allotted to the military (the famous money that's coming from oil sales. the famous oil sales that will make iraq independent).

Yeesh.

Posted by ryan c on August 23, 2005 | Comments (135) | TrackBack

How Many Iraqis Killed?

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, I've wondered about how many Iraqis have been killed by US soldiers. Not combatants, mind you, but people that even the military would not try to call "enemies". These are the innocent people who are caught in the middle of US- and Iraqi military-led attacks on insurgents, and whose deaths receive essentially no coverage in the mainstream press.

I've never been able to find a really good analysis of this question, but here's a damn good start: http://www.mojones.com/commentary/columns/2005/07/unnamed_and_unnoticed.html

It's an article from Mother Jones about this very question. Check it out.

Here's a CNN.com article about the Iraq Body Count report that the above article mentions:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/07/19/iraq.bodycount/index.html

And here's a link to the Iraq Body Count report itself:
http://www.iraqbodycount.net/press/pr12.php

My favorite fact: Of almost 25,000 civilian deaths, 1/2 were caused by "explosive devices", and 64% of THOSE deaths were caused by "airstrikes". That means our bombing campaign has killed something like 8,400 civilians.

Posted by ryan c on July 19, 2005 | Comments (358) | TrackBack

Big Surprise -- Iraq is a Terrorist Breeding Ground

According to today's New York Times, "A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda's early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat."

Check it out:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/22/international/middleeast/22intel.html?pagewanted=print

Add this to the Downing Street memo, and you OUGHT to have a pretty compelling public case against Bush. Of course, we've had one of those since 2000, and here we are. Let's see what, if anything, happens.

Posted by ryan c on June 22, 2005 | Comments (111) | TrackBack

PBS Funding Cut Proposed

It's happening: a House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply reduce the federal government's financial support for public broadcasting.

The subcommittee acted to eliminate within two years all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, starting with a 25 percent reduction in CPB's budget for next year, from $400 million to $300 million.

In all, the cuts would represent the most drastic cutback of public broadcasting since Congress created the nonprofit CPB in 1967.

Read it here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/09/AR2005060902283_pf.html

Posted by ryan c on June 10, 2005 | Comments (444) | TrackBack

Fuck Butter

Global military spending has reached near-Cold War levels, and the US represents almost 50% of the worldwide total, according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). How AWESOME is that?

Total global expenditures rose to $1.04 trillion, a 5% increase over 2003, and a continuation of a massive global increase since 1998. According to SIPRI, most of this is fueled by US spending -- by February 2005 the total amount of extra spending requested for the 'global war on terrorism' since Sept. 11 2001 had reached $346 billion.

Arms sales are up, too: Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany accounted for 81 percent of all conventional weapons delivered in 2000-2004.

Check out the Reuters story here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050607/ts_nm/arms_spending_dc&printer=1

and the SIPRI report here:

http://yearbook2005.sipri.org/

Posted by ryan c on June 07, 2005 | Comments (285) | TrackBack

My New Reading List

Thanks, conservatives!

The right-wing weekly Human Events Online asked conservative scholars to name the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries." Here's their list, with pithy and informed comments about each book:

http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=7591

Call me crazy, but there's something a little creepy about this. And you know what's ironic? They've got Mein Kamph on there, but they've put together a LIST OF EVIL BOOKS. You know who else liked lists of evil books? HITLER.

And I like how they blame Keynes for our current federal debt and deficit, instead of, oh, I don't know, REAGAN AND BUSH.

Fuckin' dicks.

Posted by ryan c on June 01, 2005 | Comments (57) | TrackBack

Look Up

There's an adage that one shouldn't drive angry. There may also be an adage to the effect that one shouldn't write angry, but if there is (and I doubt it), I'm going to ignore it for the next few minutes.

In 2001, during the wind-down phase of the US invasion of Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," a morning call-in show that usually plays host to minor journalists, representatives of interest groups, and a wide range of uninformed callers. The opportunity to e-mail questions for Secretary Rumsfeld had been announced in advance, and I leapt at the chance to confront him with my many and furious challenges to the "war on terror" and a variety of other military policies.

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Posted by ryan c on May 18, 2005 | Comments (324) | TrackBack

Proof.

A secret British memo from July 2002 proves that by that time (while the Bush Administration was insisting it had no plans to attack Iraq), Bush "wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD." More importantly, the memo proves that Bush was manipulating intelligence to fit his ends: "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The military also had two invasion scenarios on the table, was in discussions with Britain about its role in an invasion, and was planning to "work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors" in order to "help with the legal justification for the use of force."

Read Thursday's Knight Ridder story here:
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/11574296.htm

Read the memo here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html

Smoking gun, kids.

Posted by ryan c on May 06, 2005 | Comments (313) | TrackBack

PBS: New and Improved!

In accordance with the wishes of our benevolent overseers, we at the Public Broadcasting System have updated our programming. We are certain that all Americans will appreciate our morally appropriate and balanced new lineup. Here are just a few of the changes that will make PBS the kind of network that everyone can enjoy:

The NewsHour
No longer a home for long-winded, liberal tirades about pointless issues like the minimum wage and Medicaid, The NewsHour will now feature a weekly video essay from Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio, TX, a 40-minute sports segment, and a news ticker crawl that will inform citizens of President Bush's latest initiatives. Host Jim Lehrer has been neutralized.

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Posted by ryan c on May 04, 2005 | Comments (1145) | TrackBack

Bush's Budget, or, I Am Taking Over Periodic Diversions

Ryan Harvey and a bunch of us PD-types, along with some old friends (and some new ones) are heading to Foxfield this weekend to drink liquor and get muddy.

In the meantime, you should read this, especially if (like most people) you make less than $200,000 per year:

http://www.cbpp.org/2-7-05bud3.htm

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Posted by ryan c on April 29, 2005 | Comments (39) | TrackBack

Terror Attacks Triple

Just so everyone is clear, State Department data on incidents of international terrorism show that there were more than THREE TIMES as many attacks in 2004 as in 2003.

The interesting part? The State Department has decided not to release these data in its annual report on terrorism, rather obviously because the data show that "the war on terror" is failing.

Check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/26/AR2005042601623.html

Posted by ryan c on April 27, 2005 | Comments (88) | TrackBack

Saving the Senate

The men who designed the Senate had several purposes in mind for it, among the most important of which was its role as a moderating force. That is, while the House of Representatives was imagined as a forum for all manner of popular debates and partisan schemes, the Senate was intended to temper the appetites of the majority party and force compromises that would benefit the broader public, even if it did so at the expense of the majority’s wildest aspirations.

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Posted by ryan c on April 18, 2005 | Comments (56) | TrackBack

Come! Come! I Have Many Wares to Sell!

Greetings! Welcome to my humble shop! Please, come in from the hot afternoon sun-- we have cool drinks to soothe your parched throat and broad fans to ease your burning skin. Do not linger in the doorway, my friends. Come, come! I have many wares to sell!

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Posted by ryan c on October 18, 2004 | Comments (131) | TrackBack

Gwen Ifill Is Terrible

Last night's Vice Presidential debate was marked by a strong defense of the candidates' positions, a consistent and forceful message from both contenders, and one persistent and unwavering factor: Gwen Ifill's profoundly terrible moderation.

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Posted by ryan c on October 06, 2004 | Comments (85) | TrackBack

Stop Watching Cable News

Interested in becoming an informed participant in our nation's political and policy debates?

Want to develop an intelligent opinion on social issues, foreign affairs, and the election?

Anxious to watch the great minds of our time at their best?

Then stop watching cable news.

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Posted by ryan c on August 24, 2004 | Comments (107) | TrackBack

Rethinking the "War on Terror" Debate

The recently published book, "Imperial Hubris," written anonymously by a current Central Intelligence Agency official, contains two extraordinarily important arguments for observers of Bush's policy toward al Qaida (see MSNBC interview at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5279743/).

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Posted by ryan c on June 24, 2004 | Comments (260) | TrackBack

Them Blonde Girls Ain't No Good

Howdy, folks. I'm kinda new to this here inter net, so y'all are gonna have to pardon me if’n I don't do it right. Just seems to me I oughta tell the whole world ‘bout these two darn spoilt girls what just visited my farm. Darn near killed the lot of us, and no foolin'.

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Posted by ryan c on December 03, 2003 | Comments (126) | TrackBack

Draft Me!

This country has a long and proud history of exposing its youthful poor to the horrors of combat. For generations, the middle and lower-middle classes have been sending their sons to foreign lands to die for one reason or another. In recent years, however, this important American institution has been seriously imperiled by the lack of a military draft. With the current youth generation languishing in euphoric freedom and slothful irresponsibility, the time has come for a renewal of our commitment to war. So, I say: DRAFT ME!

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Posted by ryan c on October 19, 2003 | Comments (286) | TrackBack

This Website Is Classy

I'm no snob, but some websites just don't have it where it really counts. They try to razzle-dazzle you with music, colors, and animation, but they never quite deliver the goods. That's why I like this website-- unlike others I've visited, this website is classy.

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Posted by ryan c on October 01, 2003 | Comments (3113) | TrackBack

I'm No Beekeeper

A few weeks ago, my wife and I visited an apple orchard in rural Vermont. While we were driving back to our home in upstate New York, Annie (my wife) suggested we visit an apiary (honeybee farm) that was advertised on a nearby billboard. Having never been to an apiary, I thought it might be fun. Plus, I'm quite the honey fan, and I figured we'd get an interesting nature lesson and some tasty honey.

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Posted by ryan c on September 18, 2003 | Comments (288) | TrackBack

Campaign '04

As some of you may know, I'm a graduate student in public policy, which means that I spend my time thinking about politics and a variety of other boring nonsense. That said, the political process does have significant implications for everyone, from the most well-heeled New York real estate investor to the grimiest low-life piece of scum on earth.

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Posted by ryan c on September 12, 2003 | Comments (171) | TrackBack

Best Laid Plans...

Let me get right into it, folks, because time's a-wastin:

I had just come back into town after six months upstate on trumped-up PI charges, and I had it in for that S.O.B. Micah McDowell. As it happens, Micah took advantage of my time in the clink to move in on some of my more serious action. A few of my disgruntled colleagues had informed me of his shenanigans far enough in advance of my release to give me enough time to craft an unforeseeable and untimely demise for Mr. McDowell.

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Posted by ryan c on September 05, 2003 | Comments (139) | TrackBack