Friday, March 05, 2004


China plans to create nine million jobs in 2004

Wall Street predictions economy would add 130,000 jobs blown apart as U.S. Labor Department reports gain of just 21,000

Calls about food stamps from needy NYers, unable to find enough work to support families are outsourced to workers in India and Mexico


Constitution-signing failed/Chalabi Power Play?
Ahmad Chalabi, the secular Shiite who's suddenly rediscovered his religious roots, pulled the plug...
Faltering Neo-Cons Still Dangerous-How They Might Influence the Election
If Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Karl Rove come to believe, around September or October, that they are likely to lose the election, it is not by any means beyond belief that they would, in desperation, undertake some new aggressive and "preemptive" military action against Syria, Iran, North Korea, or someplace else we cannot now even anticipate....They have used lies to instill fear and advance their ill-considered doctrine of preemption once, and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they might do so again.
.....most likely, a Democratic administration would be almost as beholden to the nation's military-national security-corporate complex for campaign funding as the present Republican administration. There would be changes of tone in U.S. foreign policies, but very likely only limited changes in the policies themselves. The close ties between the U.S. and Israeli military-industrial complexes that I described would continue, and changes in U.S. policies toward the Middle East would be minimal.
Knight-Ridder Questions Saddam-al-Qaeda Links
Warren Strobel et al. of Knight Ridder have looked at the case for Saddam-al-Qaeda links and found them lacking.

1. Although it is true that Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was attempting to hide out in Iraq, Saddam offered to turn him over to the FBI in 1998 in return for US acknowledgment that Iraq was not involved in that incident. The Clinton administration declined the deal. Cheney cited the continued "harboring" by Iraq of Yasin as one "proof" of an Iraq-al-Qaeda connection. Yeah, Saddam and Yasin were obviously really tight.

2. Bin Laden is said to have refused an offer in 1998 to go to Iraq, made by Iraqi intelligence officer Farouk Hijazi. A report made available to the CIA, however, said that Bin Laden declined the offer because he did not want to have Saddam's agenda dictated to him. The Knight-Ridder team does not point this out, but if you read this item in conjunction with # 1 above, it seems entirely possible that Saddam thought the US wouldn't deal for Yasin because he wasn't a big enough fish, and went looking for a more important terrorist to trade them for the US favors he wanted.

3. Cheney tried to tie Saddam to Abu Mus`ab Zarqawi. Such ties haven't been proven, but even if they were, it seems clear from the Zarqawi letter that he was not part of Bin Laden's group and only lately tried to get money from Bin Laden.

4. The US charged that Saddam was training terrorists at Salman Pak. The US military has found no evidence of such a training facility at Salman Pak, according to Seymour Hersh. There certainly were no chemical weapons there.

5. Then there was the canard about Iraqi intelligence offical al-Ani meeting with Muhammad Atta in Prague. CIA director George Tenet has flatly denied this report, and the FBI discounted it long ago.

6. Bin Laden/Iraq contacts in Sudan in the early 1990s, even if they did occur, led to no operational cooperation whatsoever.

NY Times(reg req)
Iraq Threat Deliberately Inflated, Kennedy Says

"The most important decision any president makes is the decision on war or peace. No president who misleads the country on the need for war deserves to be re-elected. A president who does so must be held accountable. The last thing our nation needs is a sign on the desk in the Oval Office in the White House that says, 'The buck doesn't stop here anymore.' "

--Sen. Edward Kennedy March 5, 2004

Their best excuses aren't good enough to explain away their deliberate misleadings:

--President Bush has said that he acted on the best intelligence available, and that previous administrations had also considered Saddam Hussein a threat.

-- ...two Republican senators, John Kyl of Arizona and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, circulated a letter noting that Democratic lawmakers as well as Republicans had made prewar statements that portrayed Iraq and its alleged weapons stockpiles as presenting an urgent threat to American security.

"CNN Presents" this Sunday, 8pm:
True Believers-Life Inside the Dean Campaign

The soaring rise and flaming crash of Howard Dean's presidential campaign from the inside looking out

No one knows if this will be truth, all-out fiction, or somewhere in-between. It should be interesting. As one of my fellow local Dean-team members has said, "It's amazing that no one has done this with the Lieberman or Gephardt campaign... coulda sworn they all withdrew before us."
*I think it's because we were far more interesting.*