Numbers Racket – Why the economy is worse than we know

Dandelion Salad

by Kevin Phillips
Speaking Truth to Power
Tuesday, 13 May 2008

If Washington’s harping on weapons of mass destruction was essential to buoy public support for the invasion of Iraq, the use of deceptive statistics has played its own vital role in convincing many Americans that the U.S. economy is stronger, fairer, more productive, more dominant, and richer with opportunity than it actually is.

The corruption has tainted the very measures that most shape public perception of the economy—the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI), which serves as the chief bellwether of inflation; the quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which tracks the U.S. economy’s overall growth; and the monthly unemployment figure, which for the general public is perhaps the most vivid indicator of economic health or infirmity. Not only do governments, businesses, and individuals use these yardsticks in their decision-making but minor revisions in the data can mean major changes in household circumstances—inflation measurements help determine interest rates, federal interest payments on the national debt, and cost-of-living increases for wages, pensions, and Social Security benefits. And, of course, our statistics have political consequences too. An administration is helped when it can mouth banalities about price levels being “anchored” as food and energy costs begin to soar.

The truth, though it would not exactly set Americans free, would at least open a window to wider economic and political understanding. Readers should ask themselves how much angrier the electorate might be if the media, over the past five years, had been citing 8 percent unemployment (instead of 5 percent), 5 percent inflation (instead of 2 percent), and average annual growth in the 1 percent range (instead of the 3–4 percent range). We might ponder as well who profits from a low-growth U.S. economy hidden under statistical camouflage. Might it be Washington politicos and affluent elites, anxious to mislead voters, coddle the financial markets, and tamp down expensive cost-of-living increases for wages and pensions?


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Behind the Rise in Prices: The Plan to Torpedo the Dollar

David Ray Griffin: 9/11 Contradictions (video)

Dandelion Salad

59 min – Apr 22, 2008
Maverick Media –

9/11 Contradictions – David Ray Griffin with VC Citizens for Impeachment Patriot

Interview with Dr. David Ray Griffin, theologian and author, and Cindy Piester with Citizens for Impeachment, Ventura County. Filmed in Ventura, CA on March 28, 2008.

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Shoot, Kill, Lie, Repeat: America’s New Moral Universe by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
Friday, 09 May 2008

Tell me that this doesn’t sound like something out of a history of Nazi tactics in World War II:

The rules [of engagement] explicitly allowed the killing of unarmed Iraqis under certain circumstances…Specifically, the snipers were allowed to shoot unarmed people running away from explosions or firefights….Of course, it’s not unusual for innocent people to run from explosions.

Didier, who has since been promoted to captain, said that “if that individual makes contact with you and then breaks contact of their own accord and disarms themselves while they are breaking contact, they are still an engageable target because they are not wounded, nor did they surrender.” He explained, “They are only breaking contact so that they can engage coalition forces at a later time.” In court, Sgt. Anthony Murphy, one of the snipers who was responsible for a questionable kill, testified that he interpreted this order about breaking contact so they can engage at a later time as: “Engage fleeing local nationals without weapons.”

In other words, if an innocent, unarmed Iraqi runs away to seek safety from a suicide bombing, a missile attack or a gunfight — which any human being would instinctively do — then he is fair game to be killed by an American sniper.

The excerpt above comes from a story in, “Killing by the Numbers,” about an “elite” U.S. sniper squad that murdered a captured, unarmed civilian in cold blood. A more detailed excerpt follows below, but I’d like to deal briefly with one ancillary aspect first.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

War Without End: 2003 and 2004 (videos)

Dandelion Salad


This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


Added: May 05, 2008

On May 1 2003 George Bush, the president of the United States, gave a speech on the aircraft USS Abraham Lincoln declaring an “end to major combat operations” in Iraq.

Five years on with violence continuing unabated across the country Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid – in a special five part series – looks at the major events of the Iraq war.

Each week will focus on one of the last five years looking at the events and the policies that helped shape Iraq and the current chaos in the country.

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US confession: Weapons were not made in Iran after all

Dandelion Salad

(source: CASMII)
Saturday, May 10, 2008

CASMII Press Release

In a sharp reversal of its longstanding accusations against Iran arming militants in Iraq, the US military has made an unprecedented albeit quiet confession: the weapons they had recently found in Iraq were not made in Iran at all.

According to a report by the LA Times correspondent Tina Susman in Baghdad:

“A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin. When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all.”

The US, which until two weeks ago had never provided any proof for its allegations, finally handed over its “evidence” of the Iranian origin of these weapons to the Iraqi government. Last week, an Iraqi delegation to Iran presented the US “evidence” to Iranian officials. According to Al-Abadi, a parliament member from the ruling United Iraqi Alliance who was on the delegation, the Iranian officials totally refuted “training, financing and arming” militant groups in Iraq. Consequently the Iraqi government announced that there is no hard evidence against Iran.

In another extraordinary event this week, the US spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, for the first time did not blame Iran for the violence in Iraq and in fact did not make any reference to Iran at all in his introductory remarks to the world media on Wednesday when he described the large arsenal of weapons found by Iraqi forces in Karbala.

In contrast, the Pentagon in August 2007 admitted that it had lost track of a third of the weapons distributed to the Iraqi security forces in 2004/2005. The 190,000 assault rifles and pistols roam free in Iraqi streets today.

In the past year, the US leaders have been relentless in propagating their charges of Iranian meddling and fomenting violence in Iraq and since the release of the key judgments of the US National Intelligence Estimate in December that Iran does not have a nuclear weaponisation programme, these accusations have sharply intensified.

The US charges of Iranian interference in Iraq too have now collapsed. Any threat of military strike against Iran is in violation of the UN charter and the IAEA’s continued supervision on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities means there is no justification for sanctions.

CASMII calls on the US to change course and enter into comprehensive and unconditional negotiations with Iran.

For more information or to contact CASMII please visit

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Disturbing Stirrings – Ratcheting Up For War on Iran by Stephen Lendman

The Road To World War III: Bush’s Legacy, Part III

War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think By Philip Giraldi


Matt Taibbi Discusses 9/11 Truthers & Hagee on Morning Joe

Dandelion Salad


May 12, 2008

MSNBC Morning Joe

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod



Obama agrees with McCain on Palestine-Israel, so neither of them are all that Maverick…

McCain’s Pastor Problem: The Video By David Corn

Pastor Hagee Blames Homosexuals For Katrina! AGAIN!

The All-White Elephant in the Room + Hagee compares Roman Church to Hitler

Clips From Hagee’s Sermons – Scary Stuff (video)

Hearing on Bush’s Secret Laws (video)

Dandelion Salad

April 30, 2008

2 hours

Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Hearing on Secret Laws

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on the Bush administration’s increasing reliance on secret law and the threat it posed to democratic and accountable government. Witnesses testified about the use of executive orders, signing statements, justifications for classification, and use of undisclosed legal opinions to create and form policy in various areas.

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Disturbing Stirrings – Ratcheting Up For War on Iran by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, May 12, 2008

Led by Dick Cheney, Bush administration neocons want war on Iran. So does the Israeli Lobby, but it doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Powerful forces in Washington and the Pentagon are opposed and so far have prevailed. Nonetheless, worrisome recent events increase the possibility and must be closely watched.

Recall George Bush’s January 10, 2007 address to the nation. He announced the 20,000 troop “surge” and more. “Succeeding in Iraq,” he said, “also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing ‘terrorists’ and ‘insurgents’ to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt (those) attacks….we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

That was then; this is now. On May 3, Andrew Cockburn wrote on CounterPunch: “Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret ‘finding’ authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, (is) ‘unprecedented in its scope.’ ” The directive permits a range of actions across a broad area costing hundreds of millions with an initial $300 million for starters. Elements of the scheme include:

— targeted assassinations;

— funding Iranian opposition groups; among them – Mujahedin-e-Khalq that the State Department designates a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); Jundullah, the “army of god militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan; Iranian Kurdish nationalists; and Ahwazi arabs in southwest Iran;

— destabilizing Syria and Hezbollah; the current Lebanon turbulence raises the stakes;

— putting a hawkish commander in charge; more on that below; and

— kicking off things at the earliest possible time.

These type efforts and others were initiated before and likely never stopped. So it remains to be seen what differences emerge this time and how much more intense they become.

More concerns were cited in a Michael Smith May 4 Times Online report headlined “United States is drawing up plans to strike on Iranian insurgency camp.” It refers to a “surgical strike” against an “insurgent training camp.” In spite of hostile signals, however, “the administration has put plans for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities on the back burner” after Gates replaced Rumsfeld. The article makes several other key points:

— “American defense chiefs (meaning top generals and admirals) are firmly opposed to (attacking) Iranian nuclear facilities;”

— on the other hand, they very much support hitting one or more “training camps (to) deliver a powerful message to Tehran;”

— in contrast, UK officials downplay Iranian involvement in Iraq even though Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard has close ties to al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army; and

— Bush and Cheney are determined not to hand over “the Iran problem” to a successor.

Earlier on April 7, Haaretz reported still more stirrings. It was about Israel’s “largest-ever emergency drill start(ed) to test the authorities’ preparedness for threats (of) a missile attack on central Israel.” Prime Minister Olmert announced that the “drill (was) no front for Israeli bellicose intentions toward Syria” and by implication Iran. Both countries and Hezbollah see it otherwise and with good reason. Further, Israeli officials indicated that this exercise might be repeated annually because they say Iran may have a nuclear capability by early 2009, so Israel will prepare accordingly.

No one can predict US and Israeli plans, but certain things are known and future possibilities can be assessed. Consider recent events. In mid-March, Dick Cheney toured the Middle East with stops in Israel, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Afghanistan and Iraq. It came after Centcom commander Admiral William Fallon “resigned” March 10 (a year after his appointment) after reports were that he sharply disagreed with regional administration policy.

Public comments played it down, but speculation was twofold – Fallon’s criticism of current Iraq policy and his opposition to attacking Iran. Before the March 10 announcement, smart money said he’d be sacked by summer and replaced by someone more hawkish. It came sooner than expected, and, even more worrisome, by a super-hawk. One with big ambitions, and that’s a bad combination. More on that below.

First, recall another Pentagon sacking last June, officially announced as a “retirement.” George Bush was said to have “reluctantly agreed” to replacing Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace because of his “highest regard” for the general. At issue, of course, was disagreement again over Middle East policy with indications Pace was far from on board. He signaled it on February 17, 2006 at a National Press Club luncheon. Responding to a question, he said: “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.” He later added that commanders should “not obey illegal and immoral orders to use weapons of mass destruction….They cannot commit crimes against humanity.”

These comments and likely private discussions led to Pace’s dismissal. This administration won’t tolerate dissent even by Joint Chiefs Chairmen. It’s clear that officials from any branch of government will be removed or marginalized if they oppose key administration policy. Some go quietly while more notable ones make headlines that omit what’s most important. For one thing, that the Pentagon is rife with dissent over the administration’s Middle East policy.

For another, the law of the land, and there’s nothing more fundamental than that. The administration disdains it so it’s no fit topic for the media. Law Professor Francis Boyle champions it in his classroom, speeches, various writings and books like his newest – Protesting Power: War, Resistance, and Law.

Boyle is an expert. He knows the law and has plenty to cite – the UN Charter; Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles; Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Hague Regulations; Geneva Conventions; Supreme and lower Court decisions; US Army Field Manual 27-10; the Law of Land Warfare (1956); and US Constitution.

He unequivocally states that every US citizen, including members of the military and all government officials, are duty bound to obey the law and to refuse to carry out orders that violate it. Doing so makes them culpable. Included are all international laws and treaties. The Constitution’s supremacy clause (“the supreme law of the land” under Article VI) makes them domestic law. General Pace, Fallon and others on down aren’t exempt. Neither is the president, vice-president, all administration members and everyone in Congress.

Before Fallon’s sacking, things were heating up. Three US warships (including the USS Cole guided-missile destroyer) were deployed to the Lebanese coast – officially “to show support for regional stability (and over) concern about the situation in Lebanon.” It’s been in political crisis for months, and it’s got Washington and Israel disturbed – because of Hezbollah’s widespread popularity and ability to defend itself.

Any regional US show of force causes concern, especially when more is happening there simultaneously. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin criticized it, and Hezbollah said it “threat(ened)” regional stability – with good reason. It believes conflict will erupt in northern Occupied Palestine close to the Lebanese border. It’s also preparing to counter Israel’s latest threat – an Israeli Channel 10 News report that the IDF is on high alert “inside and outside Israel” and is prepared to launch a massive attack if Hezbollah retaliates for the assassination of one of its senior leaders, Imad Fayez Mughniyah, by a February 12 Damascus car-bombing.

Then came Cheney’s Middle East tour with likely indications of its purpose – oil, Israeli interests and, of course, isolating Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas further, and rallying support for more war in a region where Arab states want to end the current ones. What worries them most, or should, is the possibility that Washington will use nuclear weapons. If so, consider the consequences – subsequent radioactive fallout that will contaminate vast regional swaths permanently.

After Cheney left Saudi Arabia, the state-friendly Okaz newspaper reported that the Saudi Shura Council (the kingdom’s elite decision-making body) began formulating “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom” should the Pentagon use nuclear weapons against Iran. It’s a sign Saudi leaders are worried and a clear indication of what they discussed with Cheney.

Saudi, Iranian and other world leaders know the stakes. They’re also familiar with Bush administration strategy and tactics post-9/11.

Exhibit A: the December 2001 Nuclear Policy Review; it states that America has a unilateral right to use first strike nuclear weapons preemptively; it can be for any national security reason, even against non-nuclear states posing no discernible threat;

Exhibit B: the 2002 and hardened 2006 National Security Strategies reaffirm this policy; the latter edition mentions Iran 16 times stating: “We may face no greater challenge from a single country country than Iran;” unstated is that Iran never attacked another nation in its history – after Persia became Iran in 1935; it did defend itself vigorously when attacked by Iraq in 1980;

Exhibit C: post-9/11, the Bush administration scrapped the “nuclear deterrence” option; in his 2005 book “America’s War on Terrorism,” Michel Chossudovsky revealed a secret leaked report to the Los Angeles Times; it stated henceforth nuclear weapons could be used under three conditions:

— “against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack;

— in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; or

— in the event of surprising military developments;” that can mean anything the administration wants it to or any threats it wishes to invent.

WMD echoes still resonate. Now it’s a nuclearized Iran. Preemptive deterrence is the strategy, and Dick Cheney places the Islamic Republic “right at the top of the list” of world trouble spots. He calls Tehran a “darkening cloud” in the region; claims “obviously, they’re heavily involved in trying to develop nuclear weapons enrichment….to weapons grade levels;” cites fake evidence that Iran’s state policy is “the destruction of Israel;” and official post-9/11 policy identifies Iran and Syria (after Iraq and Afghanistan) as the next phase of “the road map to war.” Removing Hezbollah and Hamas are close behind plus whatever other “rogue elements” are identified;

Exhibit D: former Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith’s new book, “War and Decision;” in it, he recounts the administration’s aggressive Middle East agenda – to remake the region militarily; plans took shape a few weeks post-9/11 when Donald Rumsfeld made removing Saddam Hussein official policy; the same scheme targeted Afghanistan and proposed regime change in Iran and elsewhere – unnamed but likely Syria, Somalia, Sudan, at the time Libya, removing Syria from Lebanon, and Hezbollah as well.

On the Campaign Trail – Iran in the Crosshairs

John McCain is so hawkish he even scares some in the Pentagon. Here’s what he said about Iran at a May 5 campaign event. He called the Tehran government the gravest danger to US Middle East interests and added: a “league of nations” must counter the “Iranian threat. Iran ‘obviously’ is on the path toward acquiring nuclear weapons. At the end of the day, we cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. They are not only doing that, they are exporting very lethal devices and explosives into Iraq (and) training people (there as) Jihadists.”

It’s no surprise most Democrats have similar views, especially the leadership and leading presidential contenders. Obama calls Iran “a threat to us all.” For him, a “radical (nuclearized) Muslim theocracy” is unthinkable, and as president he won’t rule out using force. Nor will he against Pakistan or likely any other Muslim state. Obama also calls his support for Israel “unwavering.” He fully endorsed the 2006 Lebanon war, and it’s no secret where Israel stands on Iran and Syria.

Clinton is even more menacing. One writer calls her a “war goddess,” and her rhetoric confirms it. On the one hand, “Israeli security” tops “any American approach to the Middle East….we must not – dare not – waver from this commitment.” She then calls Iran “pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel.” She says a “nuclear Iran (is) a danger to Israel (and we’ve) lost critical time in dealing” with the situation. “US policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not – must not – permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons.”

Worst of all was her comment on ABC’s Good Morning America in response to (a preposterous hypothetical) about Iran “launch(ing) a nuclear attack on Israel.” Her answer: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that. We would be able to ‘totally obliterate’ them (meaning, of course, every man, woman and child).” She then added: “I don’t think it’s time to equivocate. (Iran has) to know they would face massive retaliation. That is the only way to rein them in.”

At the same time, she, the other leading candidates, and nearly everyone in Washington ignore Iran’s official policy. The late Ayatollah Khomeini banned nuclear weapons development. Today, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad affirm that position, but western media won’t report it. They also play down IAEA reports confirming that no evidence shows Iran has a nuclear weapons program or that it’s violating NPT.

Media Rhetoric Heating Up

It happens repeatedly, then cools down, so what to make of the latest Iran-bashing. Nothing maybe, but who can know. So it’s tea leaves reading time again to pick up clues about potential impending action. Without question, the administration wants regime change, and right wing media keep selling it – Iranian leaders are bad; removing them is good, and what better way than by “shock and awe.”

Take Fouad Ajami for example from his May 5 Wall Street Journal op-ed. It’s headlined – “Iran Must Finally Pay A Price.” He’s a Lebanese-born US academic specializing in Middle East issues. He’s also a well-paid flack for hard right policies, including their belligerency. He shows up often in the Wall Street Journal (and on TV, too) and always to spew hate and lies – his real specialty.

His latest piece is typical. Here’s a sampling that’s indicative of lots else coming out now:

— “three decades of playing cat-and-mouse with American power have emboldened Iran’s rulers;

— why are the mullahs allowed to kill our soldiers with impunity;”

— in Iraq, “Iranians played arsonists and firemen at the same time; (it’s) part of a larger pattern;

— Tehran has wreaked havoc on regional order and peace over the last three decades;”

— earlier, George HW Bush offered an olive branch to Iran’s rulers;

— “Madeleine Albright (apologized) for America’s role in the (1953) coup;”

— all the while, “the clerics have had no interest in any bargain;” their oil wealth gives them great latitude;

— “they have harassed Arab rulers while posing as status quo players at peace with the order of the region;”

— they use regional proxies like “Hezbollah in Lebanon, warlords and militias in Iraq, purveyors of terror for the hire;

— the (earlier) hope….that Iran would refrain from (interfering) in Iran (was) wishful thinking;” now there’s Iran’s nuclear “ambitions” to consider; the “Persian menace” has to “be shown that there is a price for their transgressions.”

Sum it up, and it spells vicious agitprop by an expert at spewing it. He’s not alone. Disputing one of his assertions, a May 5 AFP report quotes Iraq government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh saying no “hard evidence” shows Iran is backing Shiite militiamen or inciting violence in the country.

Consider the Arab street as well. It’s unconcerned about Iran but outraged over US adverturism. Recall also that on March 2 Iranian President Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian head of state to visit Iraq in three decades. Prime Minister al-Maliki and President Talabani invited him and welcomed him warmly as a friend.

That doesn’t deter The New York Times Michael Gordon. He’s taken up where Judith Miller left off, and his May 5 piece is typical. It’s headlined “Hezbollah Trains Iraqis in Iran, Officials Say.” The key words, of course, are “Officials Say” to sell the idea that their saying it makes it so. No dissent allowed to debunk them or other administrative-supportive comments.

This one cites supposed information from “four Shiite militia members who were captured in Iraq late last year and questioned separately.” For Gordon and “Officials (who) Say,” it’s incriminating evidence for what Washington has long charged – “that the Iranians (are) training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran,” and Hezbollah is involved. The Pentagon calls them “special groups.”

Gordon goes on to report that Iran has gotten “less obtrusive (by) bringing small groups of Iraqi Shiite militants to camps in Iran, where they are taught how to do their own training, ‘American officials say.’ ”

Once trained, “the militants then return to Iraq to teach their comrades how to fire rockets and mortars, fight as snipers or assemble explosively formed penetrators, a particularly lethal type of roadside bomb….according to American officials.”

As usual, the “officials” are anonymous and their “information has not been released publicly.” Gordon continues with more of the same, but sum it up and he sounds like Ajami, Judith Miller, and growing numbers of others like them.

On March 17, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) put out an Action Alert headlined “No Antiwar Voices in NYT ‘Debate.’ ” It referred to The Times March 16 “Week in Review” section on the war’s fifth anniversary featuring nine so-called experts – all chosen for their hawkish credentials. Included were familiar names like Richard Perle, Fred Kagan, Anthony Cordesman, Kenneth Pollack and even Paul Bremer. On May 4, The Times reconvened the same lineup for a repeat performance that would make any state-controlled media proud.

No need to explain their assessment either time, but NYT op-ed page editor said this on July 31, 2005: The op-ed page (where the above review was published) is “a venue for people with a wide range of perspectives, experiences and talents (to provide) a lively page of clashing opinions, one where as many people as possible have the opportunity to make the best arguments they can.” As long as they don’t conflict with official state policy, offend Times advertisers or potential ones, acknowledge Iran’s decisive role in ending the recent Basra fighting, or mention the (latest) 2007 (US) National Intelligence Estimate that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 – even though it’s likely one never existed and doesn’t now.

With Iraq still raging and hawkishness over Iran heating up, it’s disquieting to think what’s coming, and it’s got Middle East leaders uneasy. Not about Iran, about a rogue administration with over eight months left to incinerate the region in a mushroom-shaped cloud and no hesitation about doing it.

Enter the Generalissimo – Initials DP, Ambitions Outsized

Fallon is out, and, in late April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said David Petraeus is being nominated to replace him as Centcom commander. General Raymond Odierno (his former deputy) will replace his former boss as Iraq chief. New York Times reporter Thom Shanker said these “two commanders (are) most closely associated with President Bush’s current strategy in Iraq,” so are on board to pursue it and maybe up the stakes.

Besides being a Latin American expert, James Petras writes extensively on the Middle East and how the Israeli Lobby influences US policy. His 2006 book, “The Power of Israel in the United States,” is must reading to understand it. Petras has a new article on Petraeus. It’s incisive, scary, and unsparing in exposing the generalissimo’s true character, failings, and ambitions.

Competence didn’t make him Iraq commander last year. It came the same way he got each star. In the words of some of his peers – by brown-nosing his way to the top. It made him more than a general. He’s a “brand,” and it got him Time Magazine’s 2007 runner-up slot for Person of the Year.

The media now shower him with praise for his stellar performance in an otherwise dismal war. So do politicians. McCain calls him “one of (our) greatest (ever) generals.” Clinton says he’s “an extraordinary leader and a wonderful advocate for our military.” Obama was less effusive but said he supports his nomination as Centcom chief and added: “I think Petraeus has done a good tactical job in Iraq….It would be stupid of me to ignore what he has to say.” It would also hurt his presidential hopes as the right wing media would bash him mercilessly if he disparaged America’s new war hero with very outsized ambitions and no shyness in pursuing them.

He got off to a flying start after being appointed to the top Iraq job last year. The White House spin machine took over and didn’t let facts interfere with its praise. It described him as aggressive in nature, an innovative thinker on counterinsurgency warfare, a talisman, a white knight, a do-or-die competitive legend, and a man able to turn defeat into victory.

Others like Admiral Fallon had a different assessment, and Petras noted it in his article. Before his removal, he was openly contemptuous of a man who shamelessly supported Israel “in northern Iraq and the Bush ‘Know Nothings’ in charge of Iraq and Iran policy planning.” It got him his April 16 promotion, and his week earlier Senate testimony sealed it. He was strikingly bellicose in blaming Iran for US troop deaths. That makes points any time on Capitol Hill, especially in an election year when rhetoric sells and whatever supports war and Israel does it best.

Petras adds that Petraeus had few competitors for the Centcom job because other top candidates won’t stoop the way he does – shamelessly flacking for Israel, the bellicose Bush agenda, and what Petras calls “his slavish adherence to….confrontation with Iran. Blaming Iran for his failed military policies served a double purpose – it covered up his incompetence and it secured the support of” the Senate’s most hawkish (independent) Democrat, Joe Lieberman.

It also served his outsized ambitions that may include a future run for the White House. His calculus seems to be – lie to Congress, hide his failures, blame Iran, support Israel and the Bush agenda unflinchingly, claim he turned Iraq around, say he’ll do it in the region, and make him president and he’ll fix everything.

He (nor the media) won’t report how bad things are in Iraq or the toll on its people. They won’t explain the “surge’s” failure to make any progress on the ground. They won’t reveal the weekly US troop death and injury count that’s far higher than reported numbers. By one estimate, (including weekly Pentagon wounded updates), it tops 85,000 when the following categories are included:

— “hostile” and “non-hostile” deaths, including from accidents and illness;

— total numbers wounded; and

— many thousands of later discovered casualties, mainly brain traumas from explosions.

Left out of the above figures are future illnesses and deaths from exposure to toxic substances like depleted uranium. It now saturates large areas of Iraq in the soil, air and drinking water. Also omitted is the vast psychological toll. For many, it causes permanent damage, and whole families become victims.

Consider civilian contractor casualties as well. They may be in the thousands. A February Houston Post report noted 1123 US civilian contractor deaths. It left out numbers of wounded or any information about foreign workers. They may have been affected most.

Several other reports are played down. One is from the VA about 18 known daily suicides. The true number may be higher. Another comes from on May 5 but unreported on TV news. It cited Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health on an April 2008 Rand Corporation study. It found about “18.5% of returning (Iraq and Afghan) US soldiers (afflicted with) post-traumatic stress disorder or depression (PTSD), and only half of them receive treatment.”

Much of it shows up later, and many of its victims never recover. A smaller psychiatric association study put the PTSD number at about 32%, and a January 2006 Journal of the American Medical Association put it even higher – 35% of Iraq vets seeking help for mental health problems. A still earlier 2003 New England Journal of Medicine Study reported an astonishing 60% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans showing PTSD “symptoms.” Most victims said their duty caused it, but over half of them never sought treatment fearing damage to their careers.

The same Rand study said another 19% have possible traumatic brain injuries ranging from concussions to severe head wounds. About 7% of vets suffer a double hit – both brain injury and PTSD or depression. It’s a wonder numbers aren’t higher as most active duty and National Guard forces serve multiple tours – some as many as six or more in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Surviving that ordeal in one piece is no small achievement.

Patraeus’ calculus omits these victims and all other war costs abroad and at home. They’re consigned to an over-stuffed memory hole for whatever outs the facts on the ground or his PR-enhanced image.

Petras strips it away and calls him “a disastrous failure” whose record is so poor it takes media magic to remake it. This man will now direct administration Middle East policy. He supports its aims, and if neocon wishes are adopted it means continued war and occupation of Iraq, stepped up efforts in Afghanistan, and making a hopeless enterprise worse by attacking Iran. No problem for Petraeus if it helps his ambitions. They, of course demand success, or at least the appearance, the way Petraeus so far has framed it. It remains to be seen what’s ahead, and how long defeat can be called victory.

And one more thing as well. Congress will soon vote on more Iraq-Afghanistan supplemental funding. Bush wants another $108 billion for FY 2008. In hopes a Democrat will be elected president, Congress may add another $70 billion through early FY 2009 for a total $178 billion new war spending (plus the usual pork add-ons) on top of an already bloated Pentagon budget programmed to increase.

It’s got economist Joseph Stiglitz alarmed and has for some time. In his judgment, the Iraq war alone (conservatively) will cost trillions of dollars, far more than his earlier estimates. That’s counting all war-related costs:

— from annual defense spending plus huge supplemental add-ons;

— outsized expenses treating injured and disabled veterans – for the government and families that must bear the burden;

— high energy costs; they’re affected by war but mostly result from blatant market manipulation; it’s not a supply/demand issue; there’s plenty of oil around, but not if you listen to industry flacks citing shortages and other false reasons why prices shot up so high;

— destructive budget and current account deficits; in the short run, they’re stimulative, but sooner or later they matter; they’re consuming the nation, and analysts like Stiglitz and Chalmers Johnson believe they’ll bankrupt us; others do as well like Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs who last year outed the nation’s trillion dollar defense budget; in a recent May 7 article, he wrote: “As the US government taxes, spends, borrows, regulates, mismanages, and wastes resources on a scale never before witnessed in the history of mankind, it is digging its own grave;” others believe we’re past the tipping point and it’s too late;

— debts must be serviced; the higher they mount, the

greater the cost; they crowd out essential public and private investment; need growing billions for interest payments; damage the dollar; neglect human capital; and harm the country’s stature as an economic leader; the more we eat our seed corn, the greater the long-term damage;

— debts also reduce our manoeuvring room in times of national crisis; limitless money-creation and reckless spending can’t go on forever before inflation debases the currency; that’s a major unreported threat at a time monetary and fiscal stimulus shifted financial markets around, and touts now predict we’re out of the woods; they don’t say for how long, what may follow, or how they’ll explain it if they’re wrong;

— add up all quantifiable war costs, and Stiglitz now estimates (conservatively) a $4 – 5 trillion total for America alone; watch for higher figures later; both wars have legs; another may be coming; leading presidential candidates assure are on board and have no objection to out-of-control militarism;

— Stiglitz will be back; his estimate is low; before this ends, look for one of several outcomes – trillions more spent, bankruptcy finally ends it, or the worst of all possible scenarios: an unthinkable nuclear holocaust that (expert Helen Caldicott explains) “could end life on earth as we know it” unless sanity ends the madness.

The generalissimo is unconcerned. He’s planning his future. He envisions the White House, and imagine what then. Like the current occupant and whomever follows, look for more destructive wars to serve his political ambitions and theirs. They fall right in line with the defense establishment, Wall Street, and the Israeli Lobby.

Decades back, could anyone have thought things would come to this. Hopefully, good sense will gain currency and stop this madness before it consumes us.

Global Research Associate Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM to 1PM for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. Programs are also archived for easy listening.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Are the Clashes in Beirut a Signal of the inception of a new War for the “New Middle East”?

Mosaic News – 5/9/08: World News from the Middle East

Inside Story: Lebanon’s army (video)

War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think By Philip Giraldi

Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops

There Will Be Blood By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Hizbollah rules west Beirut in Iran’s proxy war with US by Robert Fisk

Civil war in Lebanon? + Lebanon Descends Into Chaos By Robert Fisk + Nasrallah address Lebanon

The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran by John McGlynn


Inside Story: Lebanon’s army (video)

Dandelion Salad


The Lebanese army has taken control of Beirut and Tripoli to end fierce fighting between Hezbollah-led opposition fighters and supporters of the government. But the army has been accused of defying the country’s government and bowing to Hezbollah’s demands. Inside Story asks if the army is now playing politics and taking sides.

Continue reading

Mosaic News – 5/9/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


For more:
“Lebanon’s Crisis in Perilous New Phase,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Hezbollah Fighters Spread in the Streets of Beirut,” Future TV, Lebanon
“Jumblat Not Afraid of Being Assassinated,” New TV, Lebanon
“The Lebanese Government Will Not Back Down,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Israel Imposes Closure On Palestinians on Anniversary,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“France and Algeria Reach Anti-terrorism Agreement,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Fear of Terror in Britain,” Dubai TV, UAE
“MIR: Your Anniversary is our Nakba,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod


Beware Of The Psychopath My Son

Dandelion Salad

By Clinton Callahan
Speaking Truth to Power
Monday, 12 May 2008

[The following is extracted from two articles: Twilight of the Psychopaths, by Dr. Kevin Barrett and The Trick of the Psychopath’s Trade by Silvia Cattori. Both articles are recommended. Both articles reference the book Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes, by Andrzej Lobaczewski. Cattori’s article is longer and includes an interview with the book’s editors, Laura Knight-Jadczyk and Henry See.]

I make the effort to share this information because it gives me, at last, a plausible answer to a long-unanswered question: Why, no matter how much intelligent goodwill exists in the world, is there so much war, suffering and injustice? It doesn’t seem to matter what creative plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot. Since the dawn of civilization, this pattern repeats itself over and over again.

The answer is that civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been built on slavery and mass murder. Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, cheat, steal, torture, manipulate, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse, in order to establish their own sense of security through domination. The inventor of civilization – the first tribal chieftain who successfully brainwashed an army of controlled mass murderers – was almost certainly a genetic psychopath. Since that momentous discovery, psychopaths have enjoyed a significant advantage over non-psychopaths in the struggle for power in civilizational hierarchies – especially military hierarchies.

Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power. And as their power grows ever-more-threatened, the psychopaths grow ever-more-desperate. We are witnessing the apotheosis of the overworld – the overlapping criminal syndicates that lurk above ordinary society and law just as the underworld lurks below it.

During the past fifty years, psychopaths have gained almost absolute control of all the branches of government. You can notice this if you observe carefully that no matter what illegal thing a modern politician does, no one will really take him to task. All of the so called scandals that have come up, any one of which would have taken down an authentic administration, are just farces played out for the public, to distract them, to make them think that the democracy is still working.


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Powering the Rain Shadow (video; off the grid)

Dandelion Salad


Peak Moment 109: Most of Washington State’s San Juan Islands don’t have grid electricity. Many people have relied on generators, but these days, an increasing number are turning to solar. Renewables installer Eric Youngren discusses how net metering works to pay individual energy producers for power they put back into the grid, and other incentives for small-scale renewable “power plants”. He tells us about “run of the river” hydro, powered by diversions rather than dams in creeks. A strong advocate for conservation and efficiency, Eric says we could be running everything in the home on a fraction of the energy we now use, just with rooftop solar.

Looking for a specific topic in our Peak Moment library? Visit Go to “Conversations” and click a tag, or do a search. Our home page lists “specials” (presentations and conferences) available on DVD. Subscribe to our email newsletter. Or go to “Journal” to join the dialogue on Janaia’s Journal.

FOOD CRISIS: Capitalism, Agribusiness & the Food Sovereignty Alternative (Part II)

Dandelion Salad

Part I: FOOD CRISIS: The greatest demonstration of the historical failure of the capitalist model

by Ian Angus
May 11, 2008

(Ian Angus is editor of Climate and Capitalism. Part One of this article was published in Socialist Voice and in The Bullet (Socialist Project), on April 28, 2008.)

“Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are killed by hunger and poverty on our planet.” —Fidel Castro, 1998

Continue reading

The Road To World War III: Bush’s Legacy, Part III

Dandelion Salad

by Mickey Walker
May 11, 2008


Perhaps there is no turning back at this point. New developing giants of world commerce such as China will demand an ungodly amount of new oil in the next few years to satiate their rabid need for a quick fix that only oil will satisfy. For the first time in history, more Audi automobiles are being sold and shipped to China than any other country in the world. Today, Audi, next month, Cadillac, perhaps? They have the money to buy them. We can only hope to make monthly payments here at home in an insolvent nation.

Russia, as it awakens from its long hibernation with the vastest resources on the planet, will surely begin to need more oil fast to quench its new found place in the world of commerce as (you guessed it) one of the most powerful capitalistic countries in the world. So much for the Evil Empire of Reaganomics where the United States bought $500.00 hammers from Halliburton while laying off thousands. Flipping hamburgers became a manufacturing job, according to the Gipper, remember? Russia and capitalism in the same paragraph seem paradoxical, but these days, lots of new wrinkles are showing in the world of trade and commerce, and mournfully, the United States is watching from the bleachers as our dollar disintegrates. Under the Russian soil is more oil than the Arabs. Russia has paid its national debt and is running surpluses into the black, thank you very much for bringing them to their knees, Ronald Reagan. The Chinese have more bodies to work at more factories to produce more goods for more humans on the planet than even Wal-Mart can handle.

Each country has hard assets. And they mean to evolve as world powers, and that means more oil. And if we Americans think that $3.65 per gallon is high today, just crystal ball it to May, 2009. Dare we even guess how high gasoline will go as we get raped at the pump by our impotent government which caters to Exxon, genuflects to Halliburton, and courts illegal mercenary armies like Blackwater? We elected Democrats in 2006 to help us, but they chickened. Will we ever get mad about this free for all pillage of the National Treasury for world occupation of foreign oil reserves? You can bet China will get mad if it runs short of oil (which is inevitable) in propelling its giant economy. If China cannot get enough oil, I would guess that they would go to war, much in the same way the United States did with Afghanistan and Iraq, and attack a nation with rich oil deposits. We showed them how. If Taiwan had rich oil pools, you can bet China would have attacked it years ago.

It’s hard to believe how close Bush has brought us to the brink of World War III. Like drunken gunslingers, we are threatening nations with nuclear weapons and delivery systems. With Elmer Gantry indignation Bush calls them the “Axis of Evil.” Now the oil shortages and the rampant, uncontrollable appetite for oil from light-speed developing super powers like China make for a scary world, indeed. Would China sit still for a pittance of oil in lieu of their rapid growth of oil-sapping factories and billions of Chinese now able to buy cars? Would China or even France sit still to let their military forces be shut down due to lack of oil? No way. There will be war before that happens.

So here we are with our thumb up our collective rectum, dicking around in Iraq, the second largest pool of oil in the world. China wants it, dude. China gonna take it if necessary, get it? Like vultures, Russia (who has no love lost for American imperialists) salivates and loves what is about to happen. The Ruskies know that we Yanks invade countries (the oil rich ones) for our own use while not giving a damn about whether China or France goes down the tubes for lack of oil. Heck for Russia, taking and occupying countries is old hat to them: they wrote the book. They know which walnut shell the pea is under. I’m afraid that’s the way they and the world see things, like it or not. Unlike us, they are not privy to BS spins in the US news media, starting with Fox News, fair and balanced with Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

Oil. Secret meetings convene over it, minutes are sealed by Executive Privilege, and the world knows our intent even if we the people believe the spin that we are seeking to liberate the Iraqis to establish democracy in a nation that formerly was ruled and abused by a dictator. The world knows and probably cares more than the American people do that the Dick Cheney-Ken Lay Energy Department meeting minutes were sealed in darkest secrecy years ago. Bush wants them kept a deep, dark, secret. Why? The GAO and I would like to know. What is so secret in this open society we call America that the people cannot know? Haven’t we paid at the pump with blood to at least know what’s in those minutes that the Bush Administration does not want us to see? If we are going to send our brave men and women to die for their country in Iraq, shouldn’t we know how much a part of our being there is because of the oil and not to free Iraq from Saddam Hussein? If we were really in the dictator toppling business, wouldn’t we have started out with Kim Sun IL of North Korea? Or maybe we would have had a go at China for all its human rights violations. Could it be that oil sets the main priority for our lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq so that we could bring freedom to the Iraqis? Oil, just oil. And look at us. Are we nuts? Don’t we all really know why we are there in Iraq? And is it worth it to stay? Are we too cushy at our tubes and armchairs to care about what is going on in America? Is there any pulpit in America that can wash the blood from our complacent hands for looking the other way and flipping the channel?

In the 1950s we worried about nuclear war. Our fathers built fallout shelters, stocked them with food, and if lucky, a cheap Geiger Counter to help us over the radioactive decay from the nuclear fallout of a nuclear holocaust. Fission fragments rapidly decay to safer levels to where in days, a family and the dog could come out and try to make a life for our species once again. We cared back then. We had a healthy fear of things that meant the end for all of mankind. Many of my peers and I were scared to death during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We knew that the world could be destroyed if Russia did not back down from President Kennedy’s ultimatum that they get the hell out of Cuba and take their missiles and the horse they rode in on with them back to Russia.

These days, most of the newer generations find it a bit quaint that we built the fallout shelters and were afraid of the world ending as we knew it. We shuddered at the movie, “On the Beach” which described the melancholy of the survivors of World War III who were waiting their time for the radiation to reach them down under. Today, no one gives nuclear war a second thought. There could be many reasons for this brand of new apathy, but regardless, it seems real enough.

Could it be that we have spent our futures away by letting Congress and rogue presidents borrow and spend us into oblivion? Instead of being enraged because we lost our jobs or our houses or that gasoline prices should top $4.00 a gallon by June, are we novacained, or valliumed up, or hypnotized by spin doctors on TV and radio? Have we become zombies? Are we too numbed up to care that private military groups like Blackwater are not only on the U.S. payroll, but are at the ready to do the bidding of whoever says to do whatever to whomever, be they innocent American citizens or the enemy? Is what is going on too complex for us to grasp? Do we not care about the prospects of a real nuclear war because our sense of helplessness is at an all time high, and we just don’t care anymore? Maybe.

The first month I spent in Da Nang, Viet Nam, in the boats, in the river and bay, scared me to no end. I constantly looked over the shoreline, up the ridge of Monkey Mountain to the trees where snipers could have picked us off at any time. I cared and watched everything, and then something happened. I became too tired to care anymore about the possibility of my own destruction. I did my job much as a farmer in Rosebud, Texas or a refinery worker in Port Arthur might have. You just get tired of the bull—- of worrying about it. So you go on and cope as if there was no threat or danger. Is that what happened to us after the Bush thugs lied us into war and sends Reserves to do combat tours 3, 4, and 5 times with no remorse? Is that why we lie back and let Bush destroy habeas corpus while shredding the Constitution with his illegal signing statements that nullifies the very existence of Congress? Have we become too lethargic, too weary with it all to care that we are being wiretapped illegally in violation of the Constitution?

Since when would true Americans not censor and impeach a president offing a secret CIA agent in service of the welfare and national security of America (Valerie Plame, dude), for his own political purposes of illegally invading Iraq based upon lies just because Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, exposed Bush as a liar and a charlatan? Were we not insulted when Bush pardoned Scooter Libby, the only White House conviction in the Valerie Plame affair that disgraced the very nation we used to call America?

Let’s cut to the chase, short and sweet. If America is to survive, we need to wake up, kick ourselves in the ass, and get out onto the streets and protest what we have let America become. F— the Patriot Act and those who would jail us for exercising freedom of speech, granted us under our beloved Constitution. We care. We want to live and prosper again as a good nation, one who will avert nuclear war any way we can. We must bow up and do it. Let’s get some fire in our ass and grit in our craw. Or we ain’t who we always thought we were.

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The Road To World War III: Bush’s Legacy by Mickey Walker

The Road To World War III, Part II by Mickey Walker

Oil Politics in the Niger Delta (video)

Kucinich: We’re in Iraq for OIL! + McCain: Confirms America’s WAR for OIL Policy!