Dog Days: Frisky Pups and Frozen Scandals

12 July 2005 2501 Hits

From the Washington Post (via Steve Gilliard):
Puppy Love, at a Price: Affluent Owners Find More Ways to Pamper Their Pets

Excerpt: "Last year, pet owners across the country spent...$34.4 billion caring for their pets, more than double the $17 billion a year spent a decade earlier, according to American Pet Product Manufacturing Association Inc., a Greenwich, Conn.-based trade association. Much of that cash went for routine veterinary visits and over-the-counter food, but more owners are paying for toys, gourmet biscuits and a nice haircut, as well. Cats outnumber dogs, but more of the money is going to the dogs."

I love dogs. Dogs are wonderful creatures: intelligent, empathetic, capable of genuine friendship up to a point. (Some dogs, anyway; not those nasty tiny little yappy ones.) I take a backseat to no one in my regard for dogs.

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Shell Game: Iraqi Oil Fields Offered Up to Foreign Investors

11 July 2005 3058 Hits

Hey, look over there! Terrorists in London! Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

Eleven Iraqi Oil Fields Go Up to Go Up for Tender


"Eleven oil fields in southern Iraq, capable of boosting the country's production to three million barrels a day will soon be tendered to international investors, the Iraqi oil ministry announced Friday...."

This is the real game, this is what it's all about, this is why Bush and Blair diverted all those resources away from tracking down real terrorists into their terrorist-manufacturing war of aggression -- this is why those dozens of people were blown to bits in London on Thursday.

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The Hour of the Inevitable

11 July 2005 2680 Hits

Hard truths from the Guardian:

Blair Put Us in the Firing Line: The war on Iraq made the London attack inevitable

Excerpt: "The fury generated by Tony Blair's decision to coat-tail George Bush into what only the blind still call a justified war has put us all in the firing line. When Blair led us into the war on terror, he knew that a country with which Islamist networks had no immediate axe to grind would be drawn into their sphere of hate as a consequence.

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The Hollow, Hateful, Harmful Compassion of the Great and Good G8

11 July 2005 3077 Hits
The "historic" aid package announced by the Politburo of the Plutocracy in Scotland this week will indeed provide an unprecedented level of unhindered assistance, doled out with no strings attached. Unfortunately, this largess is being dispensed to the G8's corporate masters, not the suffering people of Africa. Bono and Geldof have been played like violins -- or maybe honked like clown horns -- by the Politburo, who used the pop stars' credibility to blur the rapacious essence of their heavily conditioned "compassion." Here's yet another look at the truth behind the prancing popsters, again from the Guardian. An excerpt:

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"Robbing the cradle of civilization"

11 July 2005 4749 Hits

Wise man Chalmers Johnson is on the case -- the forgotten case -- of the dagger Bush has driven into the very heart of the common heritage of human civilization: "These events were, according to Paul Zimansky, a Boston University archaeologist, 'the greatest cultural disaster of the last 500 years.' Eleanor Robson of All Souls College, Oxford, said, 'You'd have to go back centuries, to the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, to find looting on this scale.'"
(From TomDispatch, via The Smirking Chimp.)

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The Executioner's Face is Always Well Hidden

11 July 2005 3409 Hits

From The Washington Post:

"CONGRESS HAS a novel response to the rash of prisoners over the past few years who have been exonerated of capital crimes after being tried and convicted: Keep similar cases out of court. Both chambers of the national legislature are quietly moving a particularly ugly piece of legislation designed to gut the legal means by which prisoners prove their innocence....

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Killing Joke: The Day the American Republic Died

Written by Chris Floyd 11 July 2005 2979 Hits

Bob Herbert, who has been incandescent for months now, usefully reminds us of the comedy routine that Bush performed for a sycophantic audience of TV and radio "journalists" back in March 2004: the infamous "hunt for WMD" in the Oval Office. As you'll recall, this was a series of cutesy shots showing Bush peering behind the office curtains, looking under the rug while cracking wise: "No weapons of mass destruction under here! Maybe they're over here?" and so on.

I thought then – and still think – that this performance was one of the most revealing – and sickening – episodes in American political history. The cynicism of it defies belief, outstrips all comprehension. Imagine sending men and women to die – and to kill – in a war over weapons of mass destruction, then joking about the fact that no weapons were ever found. All this, while thousands continued to die, including your own soldiers.

The fact that Bush would engage so openly in such murderous cynicism was a telling revelation: it showed, or rather confirmed, that America was being led by a brutal, mocking, heedless Caligula, a spoiled, shallow, vain and selfish fool, a moral psychopath incapable of ordinary human empathy. The reaction of the "journalists" present was another soul-sinking revelation: they laughed. Oh, how they laughed. "What a kidder this Dubya is, eh? What important insiders we all are – real players, tough and savvy – sharing this special moment of "knowing" laughter with the president!" As far as I know, not a single person walked out in protest, not a single "journalist" refused to take part in this open mockery of the dead – our own, and the tens of thousands of Iraqis who had died for the WMD chimera that Bush now found so funny.

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Welcome to Empire Burlesque

Written by Chris Floyd 08 July 2005 45393 Hits

AtDesk.jpgChris Floyd is an award-winning American journalist, and author of the book, Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Regime. For more than 11 years he wrote the featured political column, Global Eye, for The Moscow Times and the St. Petersburg Times in Russia. He also served as UK correspondent for Truthout.org, and was an editorial writer for three years for The Bergen Record. His work appears regularly CounterPunch, The Baltimore Chronicle and in translation in the Italian paper, Il Manifesto, and has also been published in such venues as The Nation,  the Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review, The Ecologist and many others. His articles are also featured regularly on such websites as Information Clearing House, Buzzflash, Bushwatch, LewRockwell.com, Antiwar.com, and many others. His work has been cited in The New York Times, USA Today, the Guardian, the Independent and other major newspapers.

Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque with webmaster Richard Kastelein, who created the site using open-source software. Floyd is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press, which was founded and designed by Kastelein.

Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. His career began in the hills and valleys of Tennessee and down in the piney swamps of southern Mississippi, covering moonshine raids, shotgun murders, drug-running evangelists, racial conflicts, the economic ravages of the Reagan Administration, and the relentless, turbulent campaign of the Religious Right to gain political power and cultural dominance throughout the "heartland." He returned to his home ground in the late 1990s, where he won awards for his coverage of a deadly hostage shootout and a bloody melee between county officials – swapping charges of corruption and adultery – at a school board meeting.  He also won two awards for column writing during his stints on Tennessee papers.

Floyd spent several years in the depths of the military-industrial complex, working for a security-restricted federal research laboratory on projects dealing with energy conservation, global warming, space travel, transportation, robotics, artificial intelligence and military logistics. On the side, he published fiction and poetry in small journals and taught Russian literature at the University of Tennessee. Later, he annotated Shakespeare, 19th century British poetry and American literature for a start-up company producing multi-media CD editions of literary works for colleges and schools.

In 1994, he made his way to Russia, where he joined the Moscow Times, an English-language daily and one of the first independent newspapers of the post-Soviet period. There he spent two years – the high casino of the tumultuous Yeltsin era – and began writing the "Global Eye" column, which he continued after returning to the United States in 1996. He was also the Times' movie reviewer from 1996 to 2000.

From 1998 to 2000, Floyd was the editor of Science & Spirit, an Oxford quarterly journal dealing with the contentious relationship between science and religion. His work there included interviews with such thinkers as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Frans de Waal, V.S. Ramachandran and others. He also worked with contributors from around the world – Islamic scientists, Jewish theologians, militant atheists, Nobel Prize-winning physicists, and authors such as Freeman Dyson, Paul Davies, Lisa Jardine, A.N. Wilson, John Polkinghorne and others. Since 2000, Floyd has worked as a freelance journalist and as a writer and researcher for Oxford University. 

His story, "Into the Dark: The Pentagon Plan to Foment Terrorism," was chosen as one of Project Censored's "Top 25 Stories of 2002/2003." His pieces have been anthologized in various political collections in the United States.

In 2005, Floyd recorded a CD of his songs, Wheel of Heaven, with producer/musician Nick Kulukundis.

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London Calling: The Red Wheel Rolls Back

08 July 2005 4056 Hits

 I was in London's Heathrow Airport this morning when the bombs went off in the city, many miles away. Unlike America's CNN-saturated airports, Heathrow has no ubiquitous media presence looming inescapably at every turn. The first inkling we had of the slow-rolling attack was the announcement that the underground service from the airport to the city had been suspended "due to a power failure." Then came snatches of overheard conversations of people on their cell phones: "bus blown apart," "bombs in the tube," "I told them to shut all our pubs and get the hell out of there." No way of finding out more. For once, I longed to see one of those toothsome talking heads blaring out the news to a captive audience.

Soon we were in the car, still under media blackout with a broken radio, driving north on the London Orbital, the great bleak wheel of concrete that encircles the vast metropolis. A line of blaring ambulances passed us on the southern side, heading into the city center. It was almost noon before we were finally able to find out what had happened - or rather, find out the first, still-confused inklings of what had happened. An unknown number of dead; many injured, perhaps hundreds; several tube stations hit, one bus blown up; a coordinated series of attacks, taking place during the course of an hour, and clearly aimed at crippling London's transporation system - which it did, most effectively. There was the usual claim of responsibility by a hitherto-unknown group claiming connection to al Qaeda, although the police were showing an abundance of caution about naming any possible suspects.

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Idiot Wind

Chris 08 July 2005 3038 Hits

Jesus' General does some righteous research on the culturally clashing responses to the London bombing. An excerpt:

"Its time for the President and PM Blair to come to the realisation that its time to save American and British lives and return our troops to their homes.THEN NUKE THE FREAKIN AREA...MAKE IT A PARKING LOT FOR A THOUSAND YEARS! WIPE THE EARTH CLEAN OF THESE COWARDS!"--leagalbgl, Little Green Footballs.

"Those responsible for London attacks are criminals who do not represent Islam or even truly understand (its message)" --Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, powerful Sunni cleric.

For more condemnation of the attacks from leaders of the "Muslim village" who,
according to Tom Friedman, are forever "derelict" in their condemnation of the "death-cult in their midst," see this story. Friedman's gasbaggery is particularly acute in his column on the bombings, by the way, with the usual condescending rhetoric, giant blind spot about the West's part in the cycle of violence, the usual specious logic and of course a subtle plug for his latest book, Flatter Than a Flitter in a Roomful of Elephants, or some such.

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