Archive for the 'Iraq War' Category

Naomi Wolf on the end of America and the rise of fascism (audio)

socialist-podcast.pngEpisode #4 of the Paulitics Podcast has now been released.

This latest episode features a talk by Naomi Wolf on the topic of her new book entitled “The End of America”.

In it, Wolf discusses the historical evidence for 10 steps which are universally recognizable as benchmarks that a democracy is moving towards fascism or totalitarianism and how each of these ten steps is now being seen in one form or another in the United States under the Bush Administration.

To listen to Wolf’s talk or to download the episode, click here.

To find out how to subscribe to the podcast and have episodes brought to you automatically, click here.

To view past episodes of the Paulitics Podcast, click here.

More pro-conservative opinion manipulation at Angus-Reid

For those of you keeping tack, this is strike two against Angus-Reid in less than a month. (Strike one being this wonderful little piece of pro-conservative push polling which I discovered last month.)

Now Angus-Reid is finding new and more interesting ways to push pro-conservative propaganda on the public. This is a screen cap from Angus-Reid’s web page which I took approximately 20 minutes ago.  I haven’t altered anything except to add the highlighting.  The screen cap pretty much speaks for itself.


So this is the top page of the press release that Angus-Reid sends out to the public and to all the media firms reads: “More Americans back long commitment in Iraq.”  Most people reading this headline would read this and likely think ‘oh, more Americans back a long commitment in Iraq than don’t.’

The only thing standing in the way of this is the pesky fact that a huge majority of Americans want U.S. troops out of Iraq either immediately or within the next year while fewer than 40% want to stay there.  BUT, the number of Americans who want to stay in Iraq just rose from slightly under one third to slightly over one third.  So “more” Americans want to stay in Iraq… than the previous proportion of Americans who wanted to stay in Iraq.

Oh, how beautifully ambiguous the word “more” can be when you deliberately leave out its referent.

Propaganda in Action: Government-Fed News in the Turkey/Iraq Crisis

Is it state-sponsored propaganda yet?

I was reading up on the recent offensive Turkish incursion into Iraq in the New York Times (here) and at first I didn’t notice too much out of the ordinary (other than, of course, that the Turkish government is portrayed as angels having done nothing themselves). But, as an interesting exercise, then I decided to look at the sourcing that the putatively ‘liberal’ New York Time newspaper — the publication ‘of record’ — used to file this story. Needless to say, if you are interested in looking, you’ll find that, if this is the situation in the supposedly ‘best’ publication in the U.S., the situation is much the same, if not worse, in most other ‘lesser’ publications.

What’s the difference between this and the darkest days of the state-sponsored propaganda in Germany or the USSR? The difference is that in Germany and the USSR they actually knew they were being fed a purely government-endorsed viewpoint.

Here is a copy of the article as it appears today with the sources highlighted. Notice that the only time the socialist PKK party is supposedly cited is when the Times emphasizes that there is no proof of the “rebel’s” claim to have captured Turkish soldiers.

12 Turkish Soldiers Killed in Rebel Attack

Published: October 21, 2007

ISTANBUL, Oct. 21 — At least 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush by Kurdish militants shortly after midnight on Sunday, in an audacious attack that sharply increased the pressure on Turkey’s government to send troops into northern Iraq.

A group of Kurdish fighters moved into Turkey from northern Iraq, the Turkish military said, and attacked Turkish soldiers based near the town of Hakkari, about 25 miles from the border, in three different locations, killing 12 and injuring another 16. Turkish soldiers then struck back, firing from helicopters and from the ground, killing at least 23 militants, according to the military, which provided its account in a statement.

In a statement on a Kurdish website, the militants said they captured eight Turkish soldiers, but the claim could not be substantiated.

The attack came just four days after Turkey’s parliament voted to give the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan full authority to send troops into northern Iraq to strike at Kurdish militants who hide there.

At the time, Turkish officials emphasized that they would not immediately apply the authority, and security experts said the resolution would be used mainly as political leverage to press the United States and its Iraqi Kurdish allies to act against the Kurdish militants, the Kurdistan Workers Party, known by its initials, the P.K.K.

But Sunday’s attack was one of the worst in recent memory, and the government, which has been skeptical of an offensive in the past, will be under intense pressure to act.

“With this incident, the arrow left the bow, and no room is left for the government to hesitate, postpone or fail to launch a cross border operation,” said Armagan Kuloglu, a retired Turkish major general, in a telephone interview. “If the government resists ordering a military operation, such a step would endanger its existence and credibility.”

In Ankara, Turkey’s capital, Mr. Erdogan called an emergency security meeting among Turkey’s top political and military officials for 8 p.m.

“Our anger is great,” Mr. Erdogan [the Pro-U.S. Turkish Prime Minister] said on national television in Istanbul, where he was casting his vote in a national referendum.

In a veiled reference to the United States, he [the Pro-U.S. Turkish Prime Minister] said: “I especially want you to know that we do not have any thoughts as to what one side or another would have to say about this.”

President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, speaking at a news conference on Sunday with another of Iraq’s senior Kurdish leaders, Massoud Barzani, urged the militants to end their attacks on Turkey, The Associated Press reported.

“But if they insist on the continuation of fighting, they should leave Kurdistan, Iraq, and not create problems here,” Mr. Talabani [U.S.-supported President of Iraq] said, according to the A.P.

“We are not going to be caught up in the P.K.K. and Turkish war,” said Mr. Barzani, the president of the Kurdish regional government in Iraq, Reuters reported, “but if the Kurdistan region is targeted, then we are going to defend our citizens.”

Interestingly, the L.A. Times has a completely different tactic than the N.Y. Times in sourcing this story. Namely, the L.A. Times decides that it’s just easier if they don’t cite anybody as a source for anything they are writing about until over halfway through the article. (Although, in the second half of their article, the L.A. Times does follow the N.Y. Times lead of citing only pro-U.S. Iraqi sources such as Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Iraqi MP and government ally Abdul Kareem Enizi. Although they do give a one-sentence line to Suleiman Barwari, a 51-year-old civilian resident of Zakho who’s quotation merely says “The regional government should not let the two sides finish their internal fights on our lands”). [source]

See also:

Propaganda in Action: Ontario’s election “priorities”?

Propaganda in Action: Canada as a force for peace in the world

Propaganda in Action: The release of the British sailors

Propaganda in Action: The Iranian Hostage Crisis

Propaganda in Action: The closure of the Hershey plant

Propaganda in Action: The Death of Pinochet

A progressive counter-ribbon to “support our troops” [pics]

We’ve all seen the annoying “support our troops” ribbons like these ones below. Usually they can be found on the backs of cars of people who supposedly “support out troops” while the rest of us leftist heathens presumably have to be physically restrained from spitting and throwing stones at passing soldiers.

support-our-troops-yellow.PNG support-our-troops-legion.PNG

Or, conversely, there are also variants of these ribbons taken to their tacky and exploitative natural conclusion such as this wonderfully cheesy ribbon which, I kid you not, is actually a real product that some capitalist somewhere came up with:

Seriously, how many clichés can you fit into one image?

Scott Neigh had some interesting points talking about how we on the left can fight back against the right’s jingoistic, vacuous phrase “support our troops”.

While Scott Neigh’s points are definitely worth reading (as are all of his writings, for that matter), he concludes that there aren’t really any good, coherent counter-attacks against the “support our troops” trope. Specifically, Scott points out the problems with the current counter-attack “Support our troops: Bring them home”.

So, with that in mind, I took it upon myself to come up with a unique, concise and coherent counter-attack to the “support our troops” ribbon.

At first, I thought about simply translating the French anti-war ribbons like this one:


(translation: “No to war”)

But then I came up with this idea which is even simpler and hits even closer to the heart of what we on the left, I think, are actually wanting to say.

Most importantly, there’s no way that this ribbon could be more clear. It is, quite simply:



If you’re interested in posting the “stop killing people” ribbon on your blog or website, just copy the following html code and paste it wherever you’d like the image to appear (it won’t link back to this blog or this post).

How to appear tough on terrorism without doing anything

bin-laden.jpgIn a move to appear ‘tough on terrorism’, the Democrats in the U.S. Senate have successfully moved a bill to double the bounty on bin Laden’s head from $25 million to $50 million.

Sounds tough doesn’t it?

I mean, wow, $50 million!

The Democrats must be tough on terrorism since they proposed such a bold strategy to bring bin Laden to his knees.  The Republicans couldn’t even come up with the testicular fortitude to double his bounty.  Right?a-rod.png

Actually, if you put it into perspective, this move by the Democrats is more evidence that they are just as completely ignorant as Republicans and equally as unable to see past their pax americana ideology long enough to offer up any intelligent solutions.

So, to put this into perspective (and, incidentally, speaking of ‘testicular’ fortidue), the New York Yankees paid over $112 million dollars just to acquire Alex “A Rod” Rodriguez (pictured right) from George W. Bush’s own franchise, the Texas Rangers, in 2004.

Anybody with half a mind (which obviously exlcudes most liberals and conservatives alike) would realize that if capitalistic rewards sufficed, bin Laden would have been turned in to the U.S. years ago for a bounty of $87.98. 

(In fact, he was almost turned over to the U.S. government by the Taliban in 2001 but the U.S. refused to accept the offer.)

The fact of the matter is that both liberals and conservatives in the U.S. are so blinded by the ideology of their national mythologies as the “city on the hill” and beakon to the rest of the world that they are incapable of seeing what every socialist and every anarchist and every free-thinker sees as self-evident:  this will have no effect on either the capture of bin Laden or on Islamic terrorism.

To address global terrorism, the U.S. must first stop contributing in terrorist activities themselves and must renounce the title of the world’s leading terrorist supporting state.  Only once the brutal, anti-democratic conditions which create radicalism are removed, will the world have rest from this phenomenon.

$50 million won’t cut it.

Top 13 dumbest comments on the Iraq War ever… and other awards

As most of you will probably be aware, I made a post last week comparing the U.S. to Al Qaeda which generated nearly 450 comments and 14,000 hits.

However, the bulk of these comments were spread out over this blog, facebook, and  So, since I just finally got aroud to reading all of the comments now (my girlfriend and I have been apartment hunting together, so I haven’t had time to blog lately), I figured I’d have some fun and take all of the comments from all websites and come up with a series of awards for the comments generated by this post.

I’m calling it the Paulies and the categories are: Dumbest commentBest commentThe greatest one-post response to a previous comment and, lastly, the greatest overall exchange.

Much like the Oscars, yes, the Paulies are also political (and rigged so that Martin Scorsese can’t win).  And, also like he Oscars, the Academy for the Paulies (i.e., me) considers it an honour just to be nominated.

So, in the first category: greatest overall exchange, the nominees are:

#1)  The exchange between harlon57 and pointman on reddit.
#2)  The exchange between RPJ and Armando on
#3)  The exchange between Scheissen and hagbardceline on

And the winner is…..

The exchange between Scheissen and hagbardceline on! [music]

by Scheissen on 5/28/07 – 4 diggs
Bullshit. This is pure sensationalism propaganda from a socialist (he even has a link to about Marxism!). The United States didn’t and couldn’t cause 1.6 million deaths in seventeen years. And yet that person believes all killing is terrorism. I may have to bookmark this site just to laugh at it.
In recent news,
“U.S. frees 42 al Qaeda kidnap victims in Iraq”

by hagbardceline on 5/28/07 + 3 diggs
Ok, so what number would be acceptable then?

by Scheissen on 5/28/07 – 3 diggs
How about not an imaginary inflated number? Let me guess, you’re the same person that believes the U.S. cause 600,000 deaths in the Iraqi war and not the 60,000 number.

by hagbardceline on 5/28/07 – 2 diggs
Don’t take any guesses, you don’t know me.
Way to dodge the question though, sparky. You can try again now.

by Scheissen on 5/28/07 – 2 diggs
Who the fuck even said there was an “acceptable number.” Thanks for assuming.

by hagbardceline on 5/28/07 + 1 digg
Aww that’s cute. You’ve taken a position you can’t quantify. Adorable.

by Scheissen on 5/28/07  – 3 diggs
You fucking moron, you insult me because I was “guessing” you and you made an assumption question for me to answer when it wasn’t even outlined in my post.

by hagbardceline on 5/28/07 + 1 digg
It’s an easy question man, since we are in a thread that addresses it, I thought it might be relevant.
“You fucking moron, you insult me because I was “guessing” you and you made an assumption question for me to answer when it wasn’t even outlined in my post.”
Since that is your submission for a credible thought, no less distinct english, I’ll go ahead and treat your further posts as if it were from a monkey with language.

In the second category: The greatest one-post response to a previous comment, the nominees are:

#1)  EntropyMan on

by wintermd on 5/27/07 – 7 diggs
Dems have a plan for Iraq yet?. They have been in power for how long? No plan yet?

by EntropyMan on 5/28/07 + 4 diggs
There’s wintermd, on queue, with the only words he knows how to say. Is it a keyboard macro at this point? F6 = spout bullshit?

#2)  xTRUMANx on

by wildone on 5/28/07 – 2 diggs
Our boys and girls are over there fighting a war with the SOB’S who took 2 air planes and crashed them into the world trade center. Before we got there the women of the country had no rights to anything education, voting, and any other right we Americana’s take for granted everyday. We are not terrorist we are the defenders of freedom. If you cant tell the deference them move your but over there and live in the middle east and see how great the locals are!

by xTRUMANx on 5/28/07 – 2 diggs
Actually, I’ve lived in the mid-east for 17 years. And I don’t stay in the U.S. so your argument of, “If you cant tell the deference them move your but over there and live in the middle east and see how great the locals are!” makes you look stupid, which makes your country look stupid (no offense americans, but that guy is making you look dumb). My family and I have enjoyed our stay in the mid east and we have never complained about women’s rights, not that we’re afraid, but we’ve accepted it. I know it may look like people have no rights (to you), nor am I saying there aren’t people in the mid east who want a more western like life, but most of us there enjoy life there and don’t appreciate foreign nations trying to stuff their values down our throats.
As for your boys and girls, whom you say are, “over there fighting a war with the SOB’S who took 2 air planes and crashed them into the world trade center” aren’t doing that in fact. America didn’t go to Iraq over Al-Qaeda and it’s obvious that you have been fed bullshit as to why your “boy and girls” are over there.

#3)  Schwallex from

Jewjr -2 points 6 days ago
The guys mixing apples and oranges comparing terrorism to America. Actions that a government makes are far different then those of a terrorist. The main difference is a government should and can be held accountable for its actions.

Schwallex 11 points 6 days ago
Wait a minute. So, if Osama bin Laden and his followers founded a state of their own, if would be perfectly okay for them to come over and kill 655,000 Americans? You know, they could pretend to bring democracy to your country. And to get rid of your WMD, which you actually have.
“Actions that a government makes are far different then those of a terrorist.”
Well, that’s the entire point. Actions that the current U.S. government makes are not “far different then those of a terrorist”. You haven’t been following the news in the recent years, have you?

#4)  conundri from

(responding to multiple comments that I was deliberatly misconstruing the term ‘terrorism’ to further my ideological/rhetorical/communist goals.)

conundri 3 points 6 days ago
Let me take you back in time, to when the word Terrorism was first coined… It began as government intimidation during the Reign of Terror in France (1793-1794), from the French word terrorisme.
“If the basis of a popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror — virtue, without which terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent.” [Robespierre, speech in Fr. National Convention, 1794]
At the time, the French government was routinely using public executions with the guillotine against almost random citizens to perpetuate the state of fear that had brought the new government into power…
Simply redefining a word to not include yourself, or your own group’s actions does not change reality. A government can be terrorist in nature. Some examples might include Tiananmen Square, or even our own Kent State massacre, and I would argue that it is not even necessary for people to be killed in a terrorist act. Mass arrests for political purposes / imprisoning dissidents, or the taking of hostages would be examples of terrorist actions on either side of the line of government that don’t necessarily involve death.
Hope this sheds some light on the discussion from another vantage point…

And the winner is…..

#1)  EntropyMan! [music]

Continue reading ‘Top 13 dumbest comments on the Iraq War ever… and other awards’


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