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History in the Making: Phony Myths, Reality Creation And The Stuff of Legend

For the first time in American history, one of the nominees for President is a non-white male. Another significant first-time achievement for this election cycle is the fact that a woman was one of the most likely alternatives for a viable candidate. And finally, for the first time in recent history, the politics of fear and smear that have become the modus operandi of the Republican noise machine have finally begun to wear thin on the American public, reducing the banality of the shrieking messengers and their flaming notes of fecal detritus to a low-intensity, somewhat irritating buzz almost lost in the background noise of general day to day life.

During the rise toward their ultimate heights of hubris, corruption and power, the Republican leadership -- closely aligned with the neoconservative mindset that had infiltrated the Executive Branch and infected a myriad of governmental agencies with politicized agendas -- began to believe that they had, in fact, finally achieved the long sought-after "permanent Republican Majority" that Karl Rove had promised.1 They hadn't -- they had come close, but fate and fortune showed mercy on a nation beset by their arrogance and greed, and their house of cards began to tumble. That never stopped them from believing, even to this day, that their power and influence extends far enough that they can reshape reality into whatever form they wish it to take.

Some of them are beginning to wake from that dangerous delusion, just as most of the nation has begun to cast off the pall from nearly eight years of unchallenged Republican rule.

Jeff Gannon Redux:He's BAAACK

Good golly Miss Molly you gotta read this to believe it but JimmyJeff GannonGuckert is on an advisory committee with the National Press Club because they can use all the help they can get. Just when you think it is safe to go back into the woods, Jeff is lurking in the shadows. He refers to the allegations that he was a homosexual male escort aka prostitute as "unsubstantiated rumors"--yeah Jeff and my age is an unsubstantiated rumor too. Wishing makes it so in Jeffyland.

About Gannon, Plagiarism, and the AP

Especially in light of Jeff Gannon's ascension to National Press Club Blogger (hattip to CTMan1), Susie Dow's commentary yesterday about the AP and fair use got me thinking about why calling out the lack of attribution (whether because of sloppiness or intended plagiarism) is important to all of us.

Disclosure. I have a bias here. Some time ago I eagerly opened a newly-arrived edition of a magazine I subscribe to because the cover story was on a subject with which I am very familiar. I had never heard of the writer, so I was intrigued.

I hadn't read but a sentence when I went into a sort of trancelike state of shock. I was reading, word for word, my own writing. The cover article was a straight lift -- only with pictures -- of something I had written many years previously for a small company that sells instructional manuals.

Open Thread: Stark, Raving Reality Contrasts, Afghanistan Disconnect Edition

Hat-tip to Theghostofkarlafayetucker for picking this up and expanding brilliantly on it.

Click image for source.
From the Associated Press,1

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Hundreds of Taliban fighters invaded villages just outside Afghanistan's second-largest city Monday, forcing NATO and Afghan troops to rush in while frightened residents fled.

The Taliban assault on the outskirts of Kandahar is the latest display of prowess by the militants despite a record number of U.S. and NATO troops in the country.

Continuing from the article,

President Bush, speaking in London, said the United States can help calm the "testy situation." Bush said the U.S. mission remains to deny safe haven to extremists who want to kill innocent people.


"The Taliban are losing the fight in southern Afghanistan," he said.


Of course, noting the position of Kandahar on the map (marked in red, above), one could reasonably conclude that the President either meant "more south" than Kandahar, or that Kandahar itself didn't count and that it was the rest of southern Afghanistan that he was referring to.

This is an Open Thread.

Has Iran Stopped Nuking Its Wife?

Keystone Kondi Rice is back in the news. This time she's helping her boss make boo noise about what the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) calls Iran's "relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons."

On January 8, speaking at an AIPAC conference, Condi said that the Iranians, "continue to inch closer to a nuclear weapon." This despite the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate finding (.pdf here) that stated, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program."

Condi and AIPAC and the rest of the neoconservative universe have treated the November NIE the way it treats all inconvenient facts; they've ignored it. And once again, the mainstream media, most notably the New York Times, have been their willing partner in crime.

Open Thread -- Oil, Energy and Formula One hybrid edition

From Friday, some bad news about oil prices:

The following items -- one big blurb and several shorties -- originated from Reuters at the end of May. The first one proved prescient regarding the rising oil prices. The second, perhaps more subtly, indicates that perhaps at least one major oil company has decided to do less tap-dancing and start taking energy issues more seriously, hopefully for the public good.

Links to the full pieces are included in the titles.

  • Think oil prices hurt now? Just wait
    , by Nick Carey -- Analysis, Reuters, Thursday 22 May 2008


    DALLAS, Texas (Reuters) - Sky-high oil prices are causing pain at the pump, but bills for air conditioning this summer and heating next winter -- combined with rising food costs -- promise to squeeze U.S. consumers even more.


    And there are no signs things will get better soon for the consumer, long the driving force of U.S. economic growth.


    Oil prices, now $130 a barrel, have risen six-fold since 2002. On Wednesday, heating oil reached a record high above $3.90 a gallon and the price is expected to stay high.

    Heating oil, which cost $3.29 a gallon in January, will likely cost $3.83 in December, according to the government's Energy Information Administration.


    Edward Leamer, head of the UCLA Anderson Forecast Center, said that thanks to the combination of high spending in recent years and rocketing fuel costs, the consumer-engine of U.S. economic growth is close to failing.

    "The global markets are telling us we are not as wealthy as we think we are and that we have spent beyond our means," he said.


  • Exxon again cuts funds for climate change skeptics, Fri May 23, 2008


    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp is pulling contributions to several groups that have downplayed the risks that greenhouse gas-emissions could lead to global warming, continuing a policy started in 2006 by Chief Executive Rex Tillerson.


    Interesting -- from funding "global warming denial" groups to scaling back funding; is that a reality-check, or an attack of conscience? ...or something else? Ah, well...onward!

George Bush and Iran

Beginning with the infamous 2002 State of Union address and the unavailing of the Axis of Evil this administration seemed intent on confrontation with Iran on any pretense. Whether an actual attack will take place is at best speculation but what is not deniable is this: Since the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration has arrested and detained Iranian diplomats, sent carrier battle groups into the Persian gulf, accused them of providing Iraqi insurgents with weapons and of developing nuclear weapons.

MSM Drops Ball on Iran Again

The story that most likely would have knocked the bottom out of the Bush administration’s case for war with Iran occurred over a week ago, and the mainstream media hasn’t reported it.

While flipping through channels on the evening of May 12, I accidentally heard Keith Olberman referencing a story from the LA Times that told how the U.S. military was all ready to show the American press enclave in Iraq the big cache of Iranian arms that Iraqi security forces had captured from Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army during the recent fighting in the Iraqi cities of Basra and Karbala.

The arms, in theory, would have proven once and for all the administration’s assertions that Iran is arming Sadr’s Shiite militiamen. There was just one glitch; when U.S. inspectors went in to inspect the captured arms, they said that none of the weapons or ammunition could be reliably traced to Iran.

Radio Free Pentagon

Donald Rumsfeld’s short lived Office of Strategic Influence spawned a termites’ nest of truth ministries; the Office of Special Plans, the Information Operations Task Force and the Iran Directorate are just a few of the ones we know about.

The Pentagon’s latest information warfare effort involves a network of foreign language web sites that promote U.S. interests. I doubt whether anyone at the Pentagon seriously thinks foreign language web sites are going to win over any foreign hearts and minds, but foreign language web sites could be neat placea to plant covert propaganda that can migrate into the domestic press without anyone knowing it originated at the Pentagon, huh?

Pentagon's Propaganda Documents Go Online

These documents were released to the New York Times regarding the Pentagon's Military Analyst program.

Much more in Backtrack can be found at this link at PR Watch.org!

News of the Pentagon's online posting of the documents came from Joe Trento of the National Security News Service, who notes that NSNS provided the New York Times "limited information about a military office early in the reporting process."

The Truth About War {UpDated}

What's the truth about War, the Real Truth, it's the prolific growth of the needed propaganda.

The propaganda that solidifies the needed support and fear instilled to continue.

Especially for the Wars of Choice, for they would quickly fall apart, or not fought at all, if the propaganda wasn't set forward and grown to justify.

Losing Vietnam All Over Again

by Jeff Huber

“To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.” -- Walter Cronkite, February 27, 1968

The most delusional meme of post-modern U.S. military culture is that America lost the Vietnam War on the home front. Nothing could be further, quite literally, from the truth. America lost Vietnam half a world away from the home front—in Southeast Asia, where it fought what has become the template for superpower entanglement in third world wars.

Yet many of Operation Iraqi Freedom’s most avid backers believe—or claim to believe—that America’s military can somehow achieve the “victory” in Iraq that eluded it in Vietnam if only the public gives it enough opportunity. These true believers have asked us for a seemingly endless string of six-month extensions, chances to get it right this time, until they sound like sulky children at bedtime who just want “five more minutes, Mom.”

Pavlov's Dogs of War Propaganda

It turns out that James “Spider” Marks, retired Army general and military analyst, was pushing the Bush administration’s war propaganda on CNN under the guise of objective journalism for fun and profit.

Say it ain’t so, Spider.

“Shoeless” Barry McCaffrey and “Clueless” Ken Allard were also among the ranks of retired officers who cashed in on their military experience to shill young Mr. Bush’s woebegone war on the major news networks, according to an article in last Sunday’s New York Times by David Barstow. Many of the faux analysts who spoke with Barstow were so contrite they sounded like they were trying to put their hands on a Get Out of Hell Free card. Allard was especially amusing, seeming to want us to think that it took him five years or so to figure out that he was being duped by the Pentagon, but now that he’s figured things out, boy he’s hoppin’ mad about it.

It’ s difficult to believe Allard could have been that dumb for that long, but keep in mind that he’s a former intelligence officer, and that the average intelligence officer is no more intelligent than the average fighter pilot, so he might have been.

Rovewell, USA

I’ve said more than once that America’s most profound strategic casualty in the woebegone war on terror has been its information environment. The recent military operation in Iraq against Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s organization once again illustrates how we have entered a post-modern Orwellian (Rovewellian) age of dissonant dystopia.

The Horse’s Mouthpiece

The Really Long War

“The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war.” – Quadrennial Defense Review Report (February 6, 2006)

“No nation has ever profited from a long war.” – Sun Tzu (long ago)

The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report noted that it was “imperative” for the Department of Defense to “hedge against uncertainty over the next 20 years.” The DoD will have to hedge a sight longer than 20 years if John McCain gets himself elected in November. McCain has “no objection” to American troops staying in Iraq for a hundred, a thousand, or heck, make it an even million years. He’s not likely to meet a lot of resistance to that policy from the Pentagon. Ten thousand centuries’ worth of job security doesn’t grow on trees.

Our old playmates Russia and China won’t object to McCain’s plans for a million-year replay of the Cold War either. The only concern they have on that score is McCain’s penchant for either changing his mind or forgetting what he said in the first place.

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