Media Revolution

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

We were on hair trigger for attacking Iraq weeks after George Bush came to office

War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser

”Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future of the war on the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.
This was said by Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 commission! Statement was made 9/10/2002.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Death by Medicine

Peer-reviewed research has shown that 100,000 Americans die each year from adverse prescription drug reactions. An equal amount die from medical errors. In the past three years, the number of Americans who died from these two causes outnumbers deaths from terrorism by about 200 to 1. Why aren't we concerned about this? Why is their no presidential commission interviewing people in congress about this?

This issue is compounded by the fact that more and more research is funded by industry these days and less is supported independent government funding. Industry funded research is much more likely to reach favorable conclusions about a particular drug than non-industry research. The FDA doesn't do it's own research, it depends upon other published work, so as the industry co-ops the scientific community, we're actually seeing drugs on the market that have been promoted instead of tested.

The link above is pro "natural" supplements, which I'm not. But this is an exhaustively researched document: check the citations.

82nd Airborne vs. An Elderly Couple: A Case Study of Excessive Force

This guy claims that the petrochemical industry and William Hearst were involved achieving the ban on marijuana, because they wanted to quash competition from industrial hemp paper and other products.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Iraqi defector behind America's WMD claims exposed as 'out-and-out fabricator'

The case for war against Iraq was dealt another embarrassing blow yesterday due to claims by an American newspaper that the first-hand intelligence source on Saddam Hussein's alleged mobile bioweapons labs was a politically motivated Iraqi defector now dismissed as an "out-and-out fabricator".

The mobile labs, since exposed by weapons inspectors as hydrogen production facilities at best and phantoms at worst, were one of the centrepieces of the US Secretary of State Colin Powell's prewar address to the United Nations. As recently as January, Vice President Dick Cheney maintained that discovery of the labs would provide "conclusive" proof that Iraq possessed WMD.

A detailed investigation in the Los Angeles Timesrevealed that the source claiming to have seen mobile bioweapons labs was the brother of one of the senior aides to Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, who recently boasted how the erroneous information provided by his group achieved his long-cherished goal of toppling Saddam.

The source, given the unintentionally appropriate code name Curveball, was an asset of German intelligence and was never directly interviewed by US officials. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency do not even know exactly who he is, the LA Times reported.

David Kay, the postwar weapons inspector whose declaration in January that Iraq had no WMD initiated a series of hammer-blows to the credibility of the Bush administration and the British government, described Mr Powell's use of Curveball's information before the UN as "disingenuous".

He told the LA Times: "If Powell had said to the Security Council: 'It's one source, we never actually talked to him, and we don't know his name', I think people would have laughed us out of court."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Friday, March 12, 2004

Bush Admin Lied over Medicare Costs and Intimidated Government Expert

The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan.


Withholding the higher cost projections was important because the White House was facing a revolt from 13 conservative House Republicans who'd vowed to vote against the Medicare drug bill if it cost more than $400 billion.


Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which produced the $551 billion estimate, told colleagues last June that he would be fired if he revealed numbers relating to the higher estimate to lawmakers.

"This whole episode which has now gone on for three weeks has been pretty nightmarish," Foster wrote in an e-mail to some of his colleagues June 26, just before the first congressional vote on the drug bill. "I'm perhaps no longer in grave danger of being fired, but there remains a strong likelihood that I will have to resign in protest of the withholding of important technical information from key policy makers for political reasons."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Electoral College Horse Race
National polls are quick and dirty, and don't capture the wierd math of the Electoral College. This guy is trying to deal with that. You can argue with his methodology, but I think it is at least a good adjunct to national polls, and probably is better.

A related note: polls of likely voters are better than polls of registered voters are better than straight polls of the populace. I wonder whether this dude uses the former or not.

Anyway, as this post ages, these electoral college posts might get lost down the page of his diary as he writes on other topics. So here's a link to the most current post as of this time, for posterity's sake.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


I just feel compelled to show this picture of a massive pro-Chavez demonstration that happened in Caracas on Sunday. Wow.

Like the situation in Haiti, the Venezuelan mess is complex.

The sides are, however, bluntly discernable. Most people who talk about it are strongly partisan, speaking with almost cold-war rhetoric ("They're evil autocratic socialists!" or "They're evil corporate, capitalist imperialists!")

There was long a piece about Chavez in the Sept 10 2001 New Yorker that showed him to be a complex and imperfect man who truly cared about the people. His vision is greater than his reforms and he alienated the business community rather than trying to work with them.

I side with the Chavez supporters, but not blindly or idealistically.

The US media is clearly biased against him. Check out this rebuttle of many of the 25 editorials the Washington Post has written about Venezuela since 1999, which are strongly titled against Chavez. I found it quite eye-opening. I only buy into about 70% of the examples (I do for example think that Chavez' party has consolidated power to an extent that makes me uncomfortable, although the constitution was changed by a congress that was fairly elected according to monitors, this piece says). But while this rebuttle must be read as an unabashedly partisan document, it is also thorough and shows the Post editorial board contradicting it's papers own news articles, repeatedly making unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims, and sometimes out and out lying. This piece makes lot of the standard charges against Chavez look questionable, and sometimes baseless. Importantly, there's no grounds to say that Chavez has killed the Venezuelan economy. The most damaging thing to the economy in the past years is when Chavez' business opponenents organized strikes and lock-outs to shut-down the oil industry.

As far as the current referendum controversy goes, I'm not taking sides. I think both Chavez and the opposition are playing politics and it reminds me of Florida chad. In my opinion, there probably was a lot of fraud in obtaining the signatures, but is it enough to discount 1 million out of 2.4 million (the totals are something like that)? Shouldn't the opposition be given more than *five days* to have citizens revalidate their signatures. (This is a little bit less crazy than it sounds, because printouts of the rolls are being provided locally... the manpower is supposedly there). And I don't know how well to trust the voting commission.

But on the subject of US intervention, it's documented that the United States has, in the name of "democracy", funded organizations working to oust Chavez. These include an organization involved in obtaining the signatures to remove Chavez, and some of the organizers of the oil shutdown in 2002.


Left-leaning coverage

For an "opposition" viewpoint which is at least a little bit nuanced, check out It is written by a former New York Times contributer who left the paper after his partisan blog was outed and who said he couldn't be unbiased when his country was in such turmoil.


Oil Strike that wasn't a strike:
Media Revolution Article
Weisbrot Article

Shoddy Media Coverage of Venezuela:
Brad Carlton articles