The Daily Brew
Tuesday, June 17, 2003:
This blog is now officially closed.
The main page, The Daily Brew, will continue to be updated. Check there for the latest column.
Common Sense // 2:52 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2003:
George W. Bush Resume
Past work experience:
Ran for congress and lost.
Produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
Bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas, company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
Bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using tax-payer money. Biggest move: Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago Cubs.
With fathers help (and his name) was elected Governor of Texas.
Accomplishments- Changed pollution laws for power and oil companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the Union. Replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog ridden city in America. Cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government to the tune of billions in borrowed money. Set record for most executions by any Governor in American history.
Became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of my fathers appointments to the Supreme Court.
Accomplishments as president--
Attacked and took over two countries.
Spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
Shattered record for biggest annual deficit in history.
Set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
Set all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
First president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
First president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
First year in office set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, presided over the worst security failure in US history.
Set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips than any other president in US history.
In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their job.
Cut unemployment benefits for more out of work Americans than any president in US history.
Set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12 month period.
Appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
Set the record for the least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.
Signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any president in US history.
Presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
Presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
Cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
Set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind. (http://www.hyperreal.org/~dana/marches/)
Dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
My presidency is the most secretive and un-accountable of any in US history.
Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (the 'poorest' multi-millionaire, Condoleeza Rice has an Exxon oil tanker named after her).
First president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
Presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
First president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation.
Created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
Set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history.
First president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the human rights commission.
First president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the elections monitoring board.
Removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
Rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
Withdrew from the World Court of Law.
Refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
First president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US elections).
All-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
My biggest life-time campaign contributor presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
Spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
First president in US history to unilaterally attack a sovereign nation against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
First president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)
First US president to establish a secret shadow government.
Took the biggest world sympathy for the US after 911, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
With a policy of 'dis-engagement' created the most hostile Israeli-Palestine relations in at least 30 years.
Fist US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
First US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
Changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
Set all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
Failed to fulfill my pledge to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive'.
Failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capital building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
In the 18 months following the 911 attacks I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in the history of the United States.
Removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
In a little over two years created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided the US has ever been since the civil war.
Entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.
Records and References
At least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available)
AWOL from National Guard and Deserted the military during a time of war.
Refuse to take drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and un-available for public view.
All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and un-available for public view.
All minutes of meetings for any public corporation I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and un-available for public view.
Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and un-available for public review.
For personal references please speak to my daddy or uncle James Baker (They can be reached at their offices of the Carlyle Group for war-profiteering.)
by Kelley Kramer
Common Sense // 1:53 AM
Friday, April 11, 2003:
More Fighting To Do
© April 11, 2003
The Daily Brew
Nothing more thoroughly demonstrates the short memories and profound ignorance of the grass roots Republican base than the gloating over what has been presented as the end of the war in Iraq. As always, the media partnership with the White House is to blame.
The official script for "Operation Iraqi Freedom" apparently was to read like a spaghetti western, a showdown between Bush and Saddam at the Baghdad Corral. From the beginning of the conflict, the media and the administration presented the month long war as a nip and tuck battle. Given the facts on the ground, it was an audacious display of coordinated spin.
Arguments prior to the war concerned mostly the length of the cakewalk. Even as it happened, the raw facts showed the American military chewing up sporadic Iraqi resistance like a plow through a field. Nevertheless, from the moment the invasion began, the media breathlessly presented every small arms attack on an A1 Abrams tank as having the potential to turn the conflict into an American defeat. The ruse was so contrary to the reality that it must have been getting hard to do with a straight face. Fortunately for the script writers, the fall of Saddam's statue in Baghdad provided the perfect telegenic moment where the media and the administration could triumphantly declare victory.
So as the statue fell, all across the cable networks the familiar chorus of instant pundits fell into line, treating the moment as though it provided some sort of closure, and praising the White House as though it had just won the Superbowl. The military did its part to keep the news on message by attacking foreign news organizations that strayed from the triumphant reporting of pre-approved, "embedded" journalists. Never in the history of warfare had the presentation of a conflict been more thoroughly controlled, and as a result, never in the history of warfare had the actual uncertainties created by instigators of the conflict been more thoroughly ignored. The absurdity of the presentation; the total integration of White House and media spin, would have been comical if propaganda weren't effective in influencing the opinions of a gullible public.
Even mildly educated viewers were bewildered at the spectacle. After all, the eventual conquest of Saddam's regime in Iraq was perhaps the only predictable event of the whole war. Thoughtful people had been discussing the complexities of dealing with the aftermath of the conflict for over a year, ever since the administration telegraphed its determination that war was inevitable, regardless of what Saddam Hussein did or did not do. For all but the most easily led astray, the fall of Saddam represented the opening of Pandora's box. Yet the media reported the event as though it somehow provided closure. Of course, in a sense, it did. It represented the end of the period where the Bush administration could control or even predict the events it had just unleashed.
Now that the war has run its official media story line, it will be interesting to see how the script develops to explain the messy realities of post war Iraq they have so far ignored. Ruling the now conquered Iraq promises to be no small feat. The most obvious flaw in the story line is the fact that "liberated" Iraqis continue to fight against US forces. Iraqi's new found "freedom" also apparently includes suicide bombers, looting, the general breakdown of most utilities, no food or water, and a civil war that threatens to erupt as a result of the ongoing political assassinations. All of these facts detract from the cable news version of the war. As the ripples of the conflict begin to erupt outside of Iraq, as with today's storming of the Iraqi embassy in Iran, the administration and the corporate media will be challenged to develop a new narrative explaining how these events somehow reflect favorably on Bush. One option, the option selected in the case of Afghanistan, would be to simply ignore such developments. Another option would be to distract the public with yet another war. If the past is any guide, the media will chose the first, and the administration will choose the second.
Common Sense // 12:35 PM
Tuesday, April 01, 2003:
Can private Lynch sell her story to Hollywood, or does the army own it?
You know "Saving Private Lynch" would be a blockbuster. After all, she is a pretty blond teenager who, in my not so humble opinion, had no business being in a war zone, was taken prisoner and held behind enemy lines, and was saved by our guys. If it weren't true, you could never sell it, but since it is, it has Hollywood written all over it.
In a related note, WAY TO GO to the kick ass guys who saved her. If we had a commander in chief who was half as competent as you dudes, this thing would already be over, and the whole world would be thanking us for doing it. Good luck bringing the rest of them back. We all know you are looking, and we are praying you get it done.
Common Sense // 8:45 PM
Friday, March 28, 2003:
The Bush strategy seems to have had two main assumptions. First, that with US air and ground support, the majority of the Iraqi populace would revolt against Hussein, and second, that if Hussein were killed, even the Baathist loyalists would give up the fight. We know the first assumption proved wrong. The $64 question is whether the second assumption is also wrong.
If Saddam dies, and hundreds of thousands of Baath supporters, or even tens of thousands of Baath supporters, continue to wage a guerilla campaign against our troops, how on earth are we going to rebuild the country? Remember Lebanon? Can you say "exit strategy"? If any significant number of guerilla fighters remain after Saddam is dead, there is no way Bush is going to be able to get us out of this mess, EVER. The 2004 election will be run with the backdrop of our "peace keepers" (read: 20 year old kids from the heartland) getting killed every two or three weeks in Iraq by truck bombs and whatnot. Bush's only choice will be to try and distract the public once again and extend the war to Iran.
Common Sense // 11:47 AM
Thursday, March 27, 2003:
In case you were wondering what "liberation" looks like.
Common Sense // 10:35 PM
The Best Laid Plans
(c) March 27, 2003
The Daily Brew
For months, commentators from both the left and the right have sagely parroted President Bush's solemn assurance that the United States will ultimately prevail in Bush's war against Iraq. The problem with this bit of conventional wisdom is that it is only true if one accepts "prevail" in the narrowest sense of the word. If victory is defined as achieving any objective other than the removal of Saddam Hussein from a position of power, it is becoming increasingly clear that the United States cannot possibly achieve any of the broad and ever changing justifications used by the Bush administration to launch the attacks. Instead, the end of the conflict seems certain to herald an era of increased terrorism and weapons proliferation, and little in the way of true democratic reforms.
The invasion already shows every sign of increasing the prospect of terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies. Just yesterday, 14 leading Islamic clerics from nuclear-armed and supposed US ally Pakistan urged a "jihad," or holy war, against the United States. Included on the list of prominent clerics were Dr. Abdul Razzaq Sikander who heads the Islamic seminary of Binori Town - one of the biggest and most influential religious schools not just in the port city of Karachi, but in all of Pakistan.
The clerics said jihad had become mandatory for the more than 1.2 billion Muslims. "They have to participate in the jihad according to their capacity. This has become mandatory against America, its allies and the Muslim rulers" who are siding with Washington, they said in a statement. "Those who keep a soft corner for America compared to Saddam Hussein, or think that it is not a war of Islam, they are wrong," they said. The United States has used "Saddam as an excuse to attack Iraq." Against this background, both Iran and North Korea have substantially ramped up their capabilities for the production of nuclear weapons.
Daily protests throughout the Middle East demonstrate that the cleric's assessment of Bush's motives are broadly shared, including a much larger segment of the Iraqi people than had been assumed by US military planners. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney's earlier predictions that the Iraqi people would turn on their despotic leader have proven to be a disastrous miscalculation. Coalition forces have encountered significant resistance in southern Iraq where forces loyal to Saddam have engaged in guerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks. Reports of intimidation, brutality, and summary execution of the local population by Saddam Hussein's fedayeen and paramilitary forces may explain the reticence of the local populations to join with their US "liberators," but it really doesn't change the outcome. In the end, these people will be massacred as a result events set in motion by the US led invasion.
In response to these setbacks, the US military has announced plans to insert as many as 100,000 more U.S. soldiers into Iraq by the end of April, bringing the total U.S.-led force there to about 225,000. While this may or may not have been according to the original plan as claimed by Rumsfeld, it has become increasingly clear that, just as with the cities further to the south, the final assault on Baghdad will be fought against a motivated guerilla army in an urban setting, almost certainly resulting in massive Iraqi casualties.
Thus, given what is now known, it appears that to remove Saddam Hussein from power will require a massive toll in Iraqi civilians. To even attempt to rule such a country after inflicting such carnage will almost certainly require the imposition of martial law. One needs only to look at the almost daily attacks by suicide bombers in modern Israel to imagine the prospects for the coalition forces tasked with rebuilding Iraq. One need only consider the possibility of nuclear weapons supplied by North Korea or Iran added to this mix to understand how badly the Bush administration has miscalculated.
Common Sense // 5:40 PM
Monday, March 24, 2003:
Blood On Their Hands
© March 24, 2003
The Daily Brew
Any American with access to the internet can see what the American corporate media won't show us; the dead bodies of our American servicemen cut down in the prime of their lives. It is, without question, a disturbing sight. Our kids. Our neighbor's kids. Our future. But just because the media averts our eyes, it doesn't change the facts. Just because Fox News and CNN won't show us the real costs of this war, it doesn't mean we won't be paying them.
Sadly, the war is an all too predictable culmination of lies and omissions by the corporations who control our media dating back for years. While the incompetent and dishonest diplomacy of the Bush administration might remain a mystery to the bulk of the American public, it is well understood by the rest of the world who isn't saddled with our duplicitous press corp. With half of the American pubic still believing the Bush administration's often repeated and utterly false innuendo linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks of September 11, how can any fair minded observer help but conclude that the media has utterly failed in its job of keeping the American public informed? Whether it was the forged evidence presented to the UN security counsel that Saddam tried to buy uranium, or the missing link between al Qaeda and Iraq, when it comes to correcting the lies and misdirection of the Bush administration, the corporate media has been AWOL, just as Bush was with his Texas Air National Guard unit during the Vietnam War. The result of these lies and omissions is that the American public broadly supports a war that is perceived by the rest of the global community as akin to Hitler's advance across Poland.
The apex, perhaps, of this corporate degeneracy are the pro-Bush rallies organized by the radio goliath Clear Channel. How many of the patriotic Americans attending these rallies know that Clear Channel is headed by a long time political patron of President Bush, or that important regulatory issues that will reap Clear Channel millions of dollars are currently before Bush's FCC chair and Colin Powell's son? How many of the patriotic Americans attending these rallies to "support our troops" know that as Bush prepared to send them into battle, he cut federal support to schools disproportionately attended by the their children? How many of them know that as our troops were fighting and dying in Iraq, Bush was cutting the Veteran's benefits they will need when they return? One thing is all but certain; Clear Channel won't be telling them. "Support our troops" indeed.
The genesis of this journalistic malpractice was, of course, election 2000. The corporate millionaires of cable TV, intent on receiving their promised tax cut, ignored Bush's outright lies concerning tax policy, social security, and medicare. Instead, they projected Bush's deceit onto poor Al Gore, inventing clever quotes concerning the origins of the internet. Real journalism, which would have revealed the illegal purging of thousands of democratic voters in time to make a difference in the stolen election, was forsaken for catty stories about "earth tones" and "Love Story."
And so, it has come home to roost. The best of our children are now dying in Iraq in a war that, even if successful, will brand the United States as an aggressor nation in the eyes of most of the world. It is a war that was launched by an illegitimate poseur, in equal parts to secure a congress sympathetic to his right wing agenda, to secure oil for his political benefactors, and as a misguided attempt to remake the politics of an entire region of the globe. The corporate celebrity spokespeople who masquerade as reporters won't let on to these grisly facts. The reason is simple. To do so would be to admit they have blood on their hands.
Common Sense // 7:15 PM
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