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Showing posts from April 20, 2003
Bollettino Richard Reeves breathes a little hellfire in an editorial that seems to be exclusive to Yahoo News . He makes the brilliant point that the military coup d'etat, in dollar amounts, already happened in this country. 400 billion dollars is being spent by the defense department, and 25 billion is earmarked for the subversive State. Our parody of the fight between the Pentagon and the State as parallel to the fight between the US and Iraq is, actually, a real parallel in terms of amounts available to the entities sitting in the corners. A lesser point -- and one that LI was unaware of -- the military paid for the embedded journalists. Iraq, in other words, was a big advertising junket for Bush Imperialism. The funny thing is that this was never mentioned on the radio, or in newspapers, that were very careful to point out that the Iraqi's censored newsbroadcasts from Baghdad. Well, well. As the US News editor, Brian Duffy, says "With embeds, you have no
Bollettino Keeping Alan around Tom Paine's business commentator, Dean Baker, is a grouch. LI likes business grouches -- although you can always tell when the sap is rising to their heads from their shrivelled hearts -- they start calling themselves contrarians and mistake a keen sense of impending disaster for the divine gift of prophecy. Our favorite lefty grouch is Doug Henwood; our favorite bonds grouch is James Grant. Dean Baker is a different kind of grouch. For instance, he regularly punches holes in stories that grow hysterical about impending Social Security deficits -- and we think he is right, there. At the moment, he is the sole mourner at the Greenspan fiesta. When Bush announced that Greenspan would be re-appointed, there was a general round of Huzzas from all the usual suspects on Wall Street. Baker, however, compared Bush's announcement to keeping the captain of the Titanic around for another cruise. The meet of his Greenspanophobia is that Greenspan, b
Bollettino The tree of liberty is sprinkled with the blood of bouncers -- this is what Jefferson might have said about the latest news out of NYC. LI was so riveted by the news in Iraq that we ignored the warnings: our friend, T., wrote us a bitter screed about the banning of smoking in NYC bars, but we thought that he was suffering from a mild hallucination -- nothing so uncommon among LI's friends. But it turns out that T. was simply throwing invective on a legal fact. Here's a CBS report on the latest atrocity to hit Gotham city: "The worst did happen just two weeks into the ban. A bouncer was killed after asking a smoker to leave a downtown club. That's one reason why Rabin [a bar owner] wants a police presence outside the city's clubs. "We're trying to follow your law," says Rabin. "We've asked the people to step outside to smoke, now we have a noise problem that's bothering our neighbors. Help us one way or the other.
Bollettino Murmurs and crimes The NYT reports that Zubaidi, the lord high mayor of Baghdad, and the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Palestine Hotel, has been stripped of his authority by Smilin' Jay Garner, as always the embodiment of the Iraqi will: "Mr. Zobeidi, who says his qualifications for running Baghdad include participation in a disaster control management course arranged by the State Department, has also proposed sending a delegation to represent Iraq's interest at an OPEC meeting. "American officials said today that it was Mr. Zobeidi's efforts to expand his powers that prompted the Americans to crack down.Mr. Zobeidi was given a copy of General McKiernan's proclamation, American official said, and he was informed by the American military today that he had no authority to appoint anybody." The Times also reports that military men are casting dark glances at Chalabi's paramilitary. Yesterday, some of Chalabi's men were arrested
Bollettino This just in, from the Washington Times: Al Qaeda (toys) linked to State Department By Odaiah Scallywag THE WASHINGTON TIMES Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today accused State Department leader Colin Powell of harboring al Qaeda terrorist (toys) and aiding their quest for (toy) weapons of mass destruction. Top S His charges, based on "evolving" intelligence reports, marked the Pentagon's most detailed account of frivolousness at the State Department. "We do have solid evidence of the presence in the State Department of little al Qaeda action figures, including some that look to have been manufactured by slave labor in Baghdad," the defense secretary said. "We have what we consider to be credible contacts in the Department who could help them acquire the whole set of weapons of mass destruction, plus Hotwheels, and plus, where is the respect, heaven's sake, for the good old GI Joe dolls?"
In an essay on Rudyard Kipling, the much quoted George Orwell made a common sensical point that bears repeating. The seed of his essay was an edition of Kipling's poem that bore a preface by T.S. Eliot. Eliot, apparently, went to some lengths to dispel the notion that Kipling was a fascist. Orwell thinks Eliot point doesn't deserve the energy he puts into it. Kipling, he writes, was a typical jingoist of the expansive imperialist period. He believed in the racial superiority of Anglo Saxons; he believed in the goodness of the Indian Civil Service; but he did not believe in power for power's sake. He justified the ICS, and adumbrated Anglo-Saxon superiority, in terms of work and responsibility. He had, in other words, wholly other standards than the fascists. I will quote Orwell at length here: "And yet the 'Fascist' charge has to be answered, because the first clue to any understanding of Kipling, morally or politically, is the fact that he was NOT a Fasci
Bollettino LI is always behind the curve. For instance, get this: we don't see the difference between the weapons of mass destruction and the weapons of good destruction. We are clueless, here. It is a musical distinction recognizable by any Pentagon nitwit, and every editorialist on the Washington Post board, but LI -- we are just stumped. For instance, take Qatar. The Campaign against the Arms Trade has pointed out that Qatar is rather small, really. There are 724,000 people who proudly call themselves Qatarinis - or Qatari, or something like that. Now those folks need to protect their property and chattel just like anybody else. But they go to some lengths to make sure that no thief in the night makes off with their stuff. " According to US government figures, Qatar spent $700 million on arms between 1994 and 1997 and $1.2 billio n from 1998 to 2001 - all from Western Europe." Now, 700 million dollars buys a lot of Uzis; but Uzis are so passe, nowadays. Things g
Bollettino Bagmen Coups are expensive. As Jonathan Kwitney pointed out years ago, private enterprise and public governments often find pleasing compromises that allow them to go dutch on overturning third world governments and installing those pleasing puppets that age so badly in their baroque, disco palaces. It is a win win proposition - in the old days, you got staunch anti-communists, elected again and again by a wonderfully cooperative electorate, and you got sweet deals being cut that divvied up, in the most rational way, the natural resources to which the third world country was, by some mistake of providence, heir to. One wonders how the INC in Iraq is being financed. We are suspicious that an exile Iraqi billionaire currently being held in an extradition trial in London, Nadhmi Auchi, might have some answers. The Observer has a wrap around bio of Auchi that reveals some interesting things . The man's main company is hq-ed in Luxemburg, natch: GenMed. We are bein
Bollettino Al Jazeera is reporting that American troops are not allowing the employees of Iraq's oil ministry back on the site. While the Americans are encouraging Iraqis to return to work elsewhere -- from looted library to looted sandal shop -- the oil ministry, which was carefully untargeted by American smart missiles, is apparently one of those redoubts that the Bush administration is not going to give up just yet. The Financial Times also has an extensive report. There are several curious figures hanging about the Ministry, all connected to the INC paramilitaries : "The former minister is barred from entering, as are his deputies. A man in a green suit, standing outside the barbed wire, introduced himself as Fellah al-Khawaja and said he represented the Co-ordinating Committee for the Oil Ministry, which few of the employees had heard of. It draws its authority from a self-declared local government led by Mohamed Mohsen al-Zubaidi, a recently returned exil