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Saturday, May 23rd

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Reprint from 2005: The Snake Oil Merchants Who Sold Us A War!!

Condy Rice, war mongerTalk about putting one over on the American people. This one takes the cake, it really does. Did you hear anyone even mention the White House Iraq Group until recently? Did you have a clue about who they were or what they were about? Luckily, Scooter Libby screwed up somehow and got himself indicted, and now we know. Talk about a con job.

It seems that the White House Iraq Group was quite an impressive bunch with an even more impressive job. They had to sell the entire population of the United States a really big dose of snake oil in a very short time. I kid you not. That really was their assignment, and boy did they ever carry it out in style!

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Paul Krugman: The Bush administration wanted a war and concocted the intelligence.

Krugman"Mistakes were made" just doesn't get at the truth about how America was coerced into the disastrous war in Iraq,and the horrific consequences that are still unfolding. Paul Krugman sets the record straight in Monday's column, beginning with the ironic statement, that "there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House."

Yep, Jeb Bush has unwittingly ushered in the chance to have an honest discussion about the invasion of Iraq. About time.

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Noam Chomsky: The Middle East Is on Fire, Thanks to U.S.

Middle east fires - USEarlier this month, Dan Falcone and Saul Isaacson, both high school educators, sat down with Noam Chomsky in his Cambridge, MA office. In a brief conversation, edited and condensed here for clarity, they covered a wide range of topics - the projection of US power abroad and the stories told to justify it; COINTELPRO and domestic repression; the failures of the mainstream media; the West's posture toward Putin; and much more.

As always, we're happy to publish Professor Chomsky's invaluable insights.

Dan Falcone: I was recently in correspondence with a good friend of yours, Richard Falk, and we were discussing Juan Cole's idea of "essentialism" as it pertains to the Muslim world. And this led me to think about how essentialism is present in liberal education.

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Bruce Enberg: I'll bet you a Yuan to a Baklava

Yuan First Quarter US GDP came in at 0.2%, which is down from 2.2% in the Fourth Quarter. This isn't really a huge drop in US economic growth as you might think at first blush. When GDP is calculated, exports are added and imports are subtracted. The strong USD is making imports 'cheaper' and throttling exports to euro using countries that must pay much higher prices for US goods.

China of course is right there to sell the exact same things as the US at a more favorable exchange rate, as more countries are simply trading in the yuan instead of converting them to USD first. Not that the US is a big exporter anyway, but Europe does use the US as a 'cheap labor' factory floor. Overall the top US exports are gasoline, fuel oil and petrochemicals. Our chief 'manufactured' export to China remains recycled cardboard.

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Alex Baer: Running on Empty, Zapped & Unplugged

Alex Baer editorial TVNLPardon me while I smolder and sputter from somewhere within, in the penthouse of this body, up behind the eyeballs, where my subdued executive function strains and squints, scrambled sidelong a smidge.

It feels like The Really Big Bottle of Liquid Smote has been glunked out and loosed into the reluctant Jacuzzi of my brainpan, bubbled and fluffed up a tad with some stray napalm. Sorry about the greasy haze. With any luck, that soot'll come right out of your clothes, as well as these curtains.

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Alex Baer: Fate Makes a Health & Welfare House Call

Alex Baer editorialFate -- or The Universe, or The Hairy Thunderer, or Kosmic Muffin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or The Formless Mystery, or Your-What-Have-You -- waited ten whole days before it dropped by to give me a little something extra to stew in my cracked, shoulder-high, neck-mounted crockpot with the rattling glass-top lid.

Frankly, I had come to lose track of Its notions of style, Its sensibilities on timing, Its fondness for the unexpected slip of a stiletto between the ribs, Its pleased sneer for the gleeful anticipation of the set-up, followed by the crack of the ambush, the deft yank on the rug, the flailing, slow-motion fall, the broken things scattering on the floor...

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The Canadian Ministry of "Truth": "Reality Is Whatever We Say It Is"

Canada Ministry of TruthOne of the frightening aspects of ideology is how easy its governing principles can be obscured behind tautologies and reality-denying affirmations that are then effortlessly absorbed en masse simply through continuous repetition.

Ideology articulated in tautological form is what Orwell captured in his novel 1984 when he reduced Ingsoc (English Socialism) to three infamous slogans intended to shape and discipline the minds of Oceania's citizens: War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength. These statements appear to say two different things, but they actually say the same thing twice. They cannot be factually or logically refuted because they are self-reinforcing statements that point back to themselves. However, they do play an essential role in what Noam Chomsky has called the "manufacture of consent."

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