Archive for April, 2005

A Shot from the Left

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

My friend Pen-Elayne takes me to task for not writing enough original stuff here.

Gosh I never write anything original here!

I really should work on my own writing!

Not that anyone reads my journalism anyway!

That’s okay, Elayne. I still love ya!

Is There a NeoCon Purge Going On?

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Welcome, Greg Palast.

GREG PALAST: Glad to be here, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: An explosive report on these two plans. And tie them in now to the nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.

GREG PALAST: Well, only in weird Bush world is nomination to the presidency of the World Bank considered a punishment job. Basically Wolfowitz is being tossed out head first out of the Pentagon because he decided to take on one enemy too big for his own teeth, which is big oil.

The main spoils of the war in Iraq is a seat on OPEC. It’s not just the fields; it is a seat on OPEC. What do we do with that seat? The neo-cons wanted to use our control of Iraq’s oil to smash OPEC, to smash the power of what they see as an Arab-controlled monopoly and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, that also meant smashing $56-a-barrel oil prices, and the oil industry was deeply unhappy.

So, there was a neo-con plan put out. In fact, you broke the report here two years ago when we were on the air saying that there was a plan to privatize and sell off all of Iraq’s oil fields. There was. Then Phil Carroll of Shell Oil was assigned by George Bush to baby-sit the situation in Iraq. The oil man went in and said there ain’t going to be no privatization on my watch. We don’t work that way.

You have to understand, oil companies, when they privatize, the big oil companies never get it, it’s always the cronies of Chalabi and who’s ever in power in any country. So, the oil companies did not want to be locked out, so they weren’t going to go along with it.

Plus, they didn’t like the neo-con idea that if there was privatization, and production would be ramped up, OPEC would be destroyed, oil prices would fall apart, and that would be the end of record profits for the oil companies.

So, a new report was secretly ordered up by a guy named Rob McKee, who took the Shell man’s place. McKee is from ConocoPhillips, paid $25 million by Conoco in his last year there, assigned by Bush to Iraq to the oil ministry there. And he ordered up a new study which was done by the Jim Baker Institute.

Now Jim Baker represents Exxon and the Saudi government. And the Baker Institute people, and the people they worked with, came up with a report that said that there would be a state-controlled company, which would be very OPEC-friendly, very oil company-friendly and would establish profit sharing agreements with international oil companies. And that was their recommendation. Privatization was dead out, and they were just livid about Wolfowitz.

The woman who is the chief guider on that project said, you know, here’s Wolfowitz talking about democracy, yet he wants to do what 99% of Iraqis don’t want. The oil companies don’t want to own oil fields in flames. So, basically Wolfowitz came up against big oil and his cronies, Doug Fife and the others. So, their privatization plans, because they kept pushing them, just absolutely killed them off.

And we also got, of course, a story that you saw at the beginning, that at the very beginning of the war, in fact, even before Bush was inaugurated, but within a couple of weeks, there was a meeting of oil industry people, associated with Iraq, planning the overthrow of Saddam. An invasion which would look like a coup d’etat. We would actually send in the 82nd Airborne and replace Saddam, just give a new dictator his mustache, the Baathists would stay in power, nothing would change. It was in and out.

I think people got the wrong impression with Bob Woodward’s book: Colin Powell did not oppose the invasion of Iraq. They were planning this from, like I say, the second week in office. Powell and the State Department people were opposing a long occupation and a remaking of Iraq. They just wanted to get rid of the top guy. They were quite happy with the Baathists, and they wanted to keep the oil flowing, and they didn’t want this type of situation we have now with a bloody, brutal occupation, which is also, you know, jamming up the oil fields and creating a major problem.

So that, again, it is the State department simply had a different plan for invasion than the neo-cons. But after September 11, the neo-cons kind of seized control of policy. Now we’ve had a new kind of policy coup d’etat by big oil and the — and OPEC allies in the government. They’re in charge now.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s also hard to believe that John Bolton becoming U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is any kind of step down.

GREG PALAST: For them, you know, it is pushing the Bush policy. But you have to understand that the real levers of power are not in these public jawboning jobs. The real levers of power are behind those closed walls. So Wolfowitz had his power. He now has to take his hands off the levers, and Bolton is now in a position where he is told what to say, and he is not a person setting policy.

The neo-cons understand what’s happening here, and they are screaming bloody murder. But they’re all being purged. This is a very big change in U.S. policy toward people like Negroponte, who are State Department establishment, oil-friendly, OPEC-friendly, Saudi-friendly.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, on that note, I want to thank you very much for being with us. The investigation, a joint BBC-Harper’s magazine investigation. Greg Palast’s latest piece out today in the April edition of Harper’s magazine, called “OPEC on the March: Why Iraq Still Sells Its Oil a la Cartel.”

Thank you, Greg.

Press Conference Play by Play: Bush Seems Kinda Defensive

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Watching the press conference (sorry, but I have to)…Bush looks kind of defensive, uncomfortable and a little nervous.


He’s trying so hard to act like a moderate.

“More people are dying from terrorism on your watch than ever before…” says Terry Moran. W says that is because we are “going after the terrorists on their turf.”

Hmm.

Putin?

Paraphrasing: “Vladimir and I had a long talk about democracy…he strongly supports it and I take him at his word. Condi backs that up…”

Can the man please learn to pronounce it NUCLEAR, not NUKULAR?

Bolton: Crap I got a phone call. Missing this part.


Phone call over…Where are we? Social Insecurity…

“I propose a Social Security system in the future where benefits for low income workers will grow faster than benefits for people who are better off…This reform would solve most of the funding challenges facing Social Security.” Yeah whatever.


oh…No Child Left Behind…he’s acting pissed. Whatever. “People graduating high school who were illiterate…” I guess he knows from personal experience.

“…teachers are thrilled” with NCLB???? Who? Name those teachers!

Lil’ Kim Jong Il…

Oh, we work with allies on North Korea, but not in Iraq?

Dick Cheney cheap shot…I think Dick can handle it, W.

Lower income people’s benefits rise faster? Hmmm….prove it. The “system today is not fair” I see…File that one under bullshit.

It’s over. The president gives yet another oafish performance. I am so embarrassed to have him as our “leader.” What a dumb butt.


Is “The Apprentice” on yet? That’s some nonsense I can at least understand.

SoonerThought Gear On Sale Now!

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

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This is only a small sample of the SoonerThought gear we offer. Click here to buy something that helps spread the word and keep us online!

Republicans Rewrite Democratic Amendments to Make Democrats Amendments Look Preposterous

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Democrats in the House are furious over what they see as a deliberate attempt by Republicans to rewrite Democratic amendments to make the Democrats amendments look preposterous, RAW STORY has learned.

The Republican-written rewrites, along with the Democratic description of the amendments, follows. RAW STORY has also learned that Republicans have not rewritten similar amendments in the past. A copy from the Congressional record in 2002 is included below, showing the “neutral” language used in a previous Congress.

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DESCRIPTION OF AMENDMENT
AMENDMENT DESCRIPTION IN HOUSE REPORT 109-51

DEMS: a Nadler amendment allows an adult who could be prosecuted under the bill to go to a Federal district court and seek a waiver to the state’s parental notice laws if this remedy is not available in the state court. (no 11-16)
GOP REWRITE:. Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have created an additional layer of Federal court review that could be used by sexual predators to escape conviction under the bill. By a roll call vote of 11 yeas to 16 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Nadler amendment to exempt a grandparent or adult sibling from the criminal and civil provisions in the bill (no 12-19)
GOP REWRITE: . Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were grandparents or adult siblings of a minor. By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 19 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Scott amendment to exempt cab drivers, bus drivers and others in the business transportation profession from the criminal provisions in the bill (no 13-17):
GOP REWRITE. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution if they are taxicab drivers, bus drivers, or others in the business of professional transport. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 17 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Scott amendment that would have limited criminal liability to the person committing the offense in the first degree (no 12-18)
GOP REWRITE:. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted from prosecution under the bill those who aid and abet criminals who could be prosecuted under the bill. By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 18 nays, the amendment was defeated

DEMS: a Jackson-Lee amendment to exempt clergy, godparents, aunts, uncles or first cousins from the penalties in the bill (no 13-20)
GOP REWRITE. Ms. Jackson-Lee offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were clergy, godparents, aunts, uncles, or first cousins of a minor, and would require a study by the Government Accounting Office. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 20 nays, the amendment was defeated.

President Al Gore Kicks Some Asses

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

EXCERPT:

In his 45-minute appearance at a Capitol Hill hotel, Gore quoted the Federalist Papers, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson’s defense of dissent during World War II, and Sir Thomas More (as he was portrayed in the play “A Man for All Seasons.”)

Gore made it plain that he has more than passing interest in the Senate’s rules. He served there for eight years before becoming vice president, a post that made him the presiding officer of the Senate. His father also served there a generation earlier. He mocked the assertion made by GOP leaders that filibusters have never been used to block judicial nominations, noting that Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1968 nomination of Abe Fortas for chief justice — a nomination Gore’s father helped shepherd — was withdrawn after a cloture vote failed to end a filibuster.

“Never before in history? Hello!” Gore chided. “Repeating it does not make it so.”

Gore took aim not just at Republican senators but also at the “virulent faction” of “right-wing religious extremists” that he said now calls the shots in the GOP. In language far more cutting than most current officeholders use, he mentioned two religious political activists by name — Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and James Dobson of Focus on the Family — and quoted examples of their anti-judicial rhetoric.

The audience of several hundred gave Gore a standing ovation with his accusation that this “right-wing religious zealotry is a throwback to the intolerance that led to the creation of America in the first place.”

“Most people of faith that I know in both parties have had a bellyful of this extremist push to cloak their political agenda in religiosity and mix up their version of religion with their version of right-wing politics and force it on everyone else.”

CJR Takes on Buried Civilian Casualty Figures

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Last fall, a major public-health study estimated the number of civilian casualties resulting from the Iraq war. So why did the press bury it?

Bob & Suzanne Nichols Selling Everything and Leaving Oklahoma

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Yours truly did the same a couple of years ago…–Editor

Everything Goes in Liquidation Sale

by Bob Nichols and Suzanne Williams Nichols

(Oklahoma City) Long time Oklahoma City residents Bob and Suzanne Nichols announced today they were leaving Oklahoma.

Suzanne Nichols stated “I’ve retired and decided it is time to go to Seminary. There is a fine old United Church of Christ Seminary located in California that will have me, so I enrolled.”

Bob and Suzanne are members of the Church of the Open Arms, UCC on Pennsylvania in OKC. Suzanne is President of the Congregtion this year. The UCC affiliated seminary is the Pacific School of Religion located in Berkeley on San Francisco Bay, California.

Bob Nichols stated “My family came to Oklahoma in 1840, fully 67 years before Statehood. It is time to move on. I’m a writer and can work anywhere.

Bob added “I’ll will miss my many friends from all over the state.” Come on out and visit us in California.” Bob won a Project Censored Award in 2004 for reporting on war and politics. He is now a correspondent for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper.

Bob and Suzanne concluded “We’ve lived in Oklahoma City for the past 35 years. We have lots of stuff from all those years. Everything will be sold in a Liquidation Sale this Thursday and Friday, April 28th and 29th, at our House just off 114th & May.

Bob & Suzanne Nichols
2613 NW 114th Street
Oklahoma City, Ok

The Liquidation Sale is at the family home on a tree lined two block long street, 114th Street in the Stonegate Addition. Enter from 112th & May.

Jeff Hamilton Considering Running for Oklahoma State Demo Party Chairman

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Reliable sources tell SoonerThought.com that (View image) former State Rep. Jeff Hamilton has been approached by numerous progressive and centrist Democrats to run for State Party Chairman.

Hamilton, a successful four-term state representative from Midwest City, was the formidable long-serving chairman of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party. He is regarded by many as perhaps the best Oklahoma County Party Chairman of the last few decades.

Hamilton is currently president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Interfaith Alliance, and is also a minister at First Christian Church of Oklahoma City. He has won numerous awards for his work on behalf of the poor, under-represented and taxpayers of the state. He is former chair of the Oklahoma Council on Violence Prevention.

SoonerThought.com believes he is a natural leader for the State Democratic Party. Hamilton could mount a serious challenge to milquetoast Brad Henry’s handpicked successor to the excellent Jay Parmley.

SoonerThought is not crazy about the way Brad Henry has tried to get his way in Party politics. Henry never had much use for the Party until he squeaked in as governor; and we have to question the effectiveness of his choice of a right- of-center chairperson.

Jeff Hamilton has the brains, the heart and the experience. Just look at his esteemed record in the House as well as his incredible success at making the Oklahoma County Democratic Party a force to be reckoned with in state party politics.

We’ll wait and see if this rumor is true. Jeff Hamilton has battled for us and won his entire career in public service. Oklahoma Democrats should hope he will enter this battle and encourage Hamilton to pick up his sword for us one more time.

Opry Music Hall Cheers Rumsfeld

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Count on the Grand Ole Opry (owned by ultraconservative newspaper barons the Gaylord Family of Oklahoma) to cheer on an incompetent, potentially criminal jerk like Rummy.

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EXCERPT:

As members of the U.S. military watched on television via satellite from Iraq, Dolly Parton invited their boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday.

Rumsfeld was sitting in the front row as Parton sang her hit “Coat of Many Colors” before he was introduced.

The audience applauded as Rumsfeld appeared and thanked the troops serving in the military.

As people entered the auditorium for Saturday’s show they were given postcards with “America supports you,” printed on them.

[…]

Human Rights Watch called for a criminal investigation of Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet and other U.S. intelligence and military officials who it says condoned or ignored the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and other locations.
Complete story below:
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Bolton Should Withdraw

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Word on the street says Bolton’s a dead duck…

Help Us Keep the Lights On

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Thanks to you, our core SoonerThought supporters, we have built a solid base of readership. Just last week we had a record 4228 hits, putting our total number of hits since we began 662 days ago at 144,910! Out of that number, 123,417 were unique visitors. We average 186 solid hits a day, most of them sticking around to read us (and hopefully to forward our posts or comment).

I know from my fellow Liberal bloggers that we, in our own small way, are contributing to the public discourse in our efforts to fight BushCo and the NeoCon machine. I hear from people all over America and indeed the world who agree with our stands about the unethical and perhaps even corrupt current Administration. And trust me, the only way to fight ignorance is by spotlighting truth.

That is our goal at SoonerThought.com. We want to show that while Liberals are not right about everything, the Right is usually wrong about everything these days.

But we need your help. We have moderate domain and hosting fees, which we sure could use help with on a monthly basis. I am asking you to click on one of our donor links to give us what you can to stay online. A dollar, five dollars, fifty, whatever you can. If you pay through this link, your money goes only to our hosting fees. If you contribute through Paypal, we can also use the money to buy books for research or to review–or aid in our magazine subscriptions (currently we subscribe to more than a dozen political mags to find new info for our readers).

Or, you can buy a textad, or make a purchase by clicking on one of our sponsor links. You can also buy new SoonerThought gear from our store here. Every bit helps.

If we raise enough funds, we’d like to upgrade the site more and perhaps advertise it around the web, too.

Whadya say? Can you spare a buck or two to help us stay online, on-target and on the attack?

We will even list our donors in a special thank-you posting if that is your wish. Just say “Please list my name/website”.

You have our thanks in advance.
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