February 11, 2004
Anyone But BushAn e-mail I got recently pretty well summed up my position: "Anyone up against Bush -- unless it's Hitler -- and I'd be against Bush." And I know a great many people say the same thing now. Anyone but Bush. I hear it all over the place. Like a mantra. Like a call to arms spontaneously uttered in unison by a population. We have to get him out of the White House. Even Republicans are starting to say it. And many real conservatives, whether Republican or Democrat. There is an incredible unity manifesting itself on the landscape of America. It's an awesome sight.
Someone told me today she ran into a mutual friend. "I saw Rusty today," she said. "I asked him what he thought about all this election stuff because, you know, he's crazy, but he's well informed... I asked him, 'So what do you think of Kerry?'
"'I'm for him.'
"'You know he's Skull & Bones...'
"'I don't care. I'm for him.'
"'Does it bother you that the media really creamed Dean and seem to be pushing for Kerry?'
"'I don't care. I'm for him.'
"'Have you heard reports that there has been tampering with the voting machines that may have fixed elections in favor of Kerry?'
"'I don't care. I'm for him. We've got to get this clown out of the White House.'"
And, yeah, I had to pretty much agree with him. I'm willing to compromise a lot to remove this malignant, pus-laden sore from the White House. But that doesn't mean I am ready to surrender my mind and all the rest of my principles in the process, and if Kerry gets Bush out of the White House just go to sleep.
Call me suspicious, but I get a little bit of a feeling we the peons are being directed in a big drama featuring Kerry the conquering hero who now dramatically moves the evil prince George out of the seat of power to take his place, and we are then supposed to all think it's a happy ending and oh boy isn't everything great now? And we can go back into the state of somnolescence to which a part of us always aspires -- Thanatos, the death wish within us, that desire to return to the womb.
But there are a few things that don't feel right about it. There was a sense that Dean was really from outside the little group of insiders who rule Washington and he therefore had to be eliminated, decimated with the maximum destructive power of the media death ray.
Isn't that feeling gone, now? The media is not treating Kerry that way. Kerry is being framed as an acceptable candidate to oppose Bush, to replace Bush. That's fine. The unity is important. Unity, like singleminded Republicans, to defeat Bush. But something feels wrong about it if the corporate media are tacitly endorsing it, at least in comparison to the outsiders Dean and Kucinich.
Kerry's a little too close to Bush's crowd. He is right in there with the big boys. Skull & Bones is not a big club. It's tiny, 15 new members a year from Yale, and it's extremely weird. And Kerry takes it seriously enough to tap young men to join it. There is a strong current of movement between Skull & Bones and the CIA. It can't be denied. They will not talk about the organization at all, to anyone. Is that not extremely weird? It is not time to go to sleep.
I'm willing to accept Kerry's explanation that he voted for Bush's war resolution because he thought that if Bush & Co. really followed it faithfully, they would have sent inspectors in and it wouldn't have gone any further. That's acceptable, in a legalistic sort of way, and I am willing to compromise tremendously to unite in opposition to the evil Bush faction.
But that explanation is not satisfactory as a model of behavior going forward. It's acceptable as an excuse for a disastrous failure, but no more than that. For that excuse to stand up, it means you are willing to take George Bush at his word, to believe he is sincere, well-intentioned, and trying to do what he says he is trying to do. But any fool can see otherwise. Kerry is not a fool.
So if I can see that Bush is a big liar and hardly ever tells the truth, why couldn't Kerry see it? Why couldn't Kerry -- whose well-paid job it is to oversee the war-making powers of the government, who was a Vietnam vet who later came out as a strong anti-war voice, who served on the commission to investigate Iran Contra -- see it?
Dean saw it, spoke out about it. Why did Kerry put his force behind the war effort instead of strongly opposing any move toward war that was not clearly justified? Why didn't he investigate those allegations himself? Why did he passively accept the administration's claims? Why didn't he put his staff to work researching it? What was he doing at the time that was more important?
That is not leadership, certainly not the kind of leadership we need at at time of emergency as we are now in. Unfortunately, Kerry's behavior is that of a well-entrenched loyal patrician. He has the existential power to change that. He could rise to the occasion, to the call of history. He could answer the call of his countrymen to dismantle the lousy, rotting corporate edifice that now rules America. To do so he would have to put that mission above his loyalties to Skull & Bones, to his stratospheric echelon of world establishment as represented by his membership in the Council on Foreign Relations. But is he enough of a man to do that? He may get his chance to face that test.
Following the "Anyone But Bush" theory (which is becoming the fundamental axiom of the universe now, replacing E=MC2 at least until election day) I don't care I don't care I don't care. Just get Bush out of there. Even if this Bush-Kerry race is to some degree a fixed fight with the mob winning on both sides, I say go with it. Get those unpleasant people out of Washington now. More fundamental change can still proceed from that point. But don't let them pull the wool over your eyes.
Ted Rall is not so optimistic about the way things are going. "Stupidity is all around" "Attendance records of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Alabama do not show that Bush ever was there. 'I never saw the man, I never met the man,' Kenneth Lott, the squadron's personnel officer at the time, told Newsweek." Reuters Go Figure -- CNN now says maybe it overplayed the Dean Scream. AP
February 8, 2004
Right on, Howard Dean! As Jon Carroll says, you led your party out of the darkness.
The governor from the little northern state grew into a huge phenomenon, the focal point of a national grassroots movement, because he had the guts to say what so many Americans were feeling, but what was being ignored by Washington and the major media. Thank God for him for presenting an alternative so Americans could respond to it as dramatically as they have.
When the phenomenon buried all the other campaigns and created new precedents for what a grassroots candidacy could do, all the other Democrats began parroting Dean, even as they tried to bring him down. The ones who most opposed his actual positions did the worst, like Joe Leiberman trying to castigate Dean for telling the truth about the war and about how the capture of Saddam Hussein didn't make Americans safer.
Dean was the beacon that gave Americans hope, and forced the other Democratic candidates out of hiding. Now after a few primaries, it appears that Dean's candidacy is failing, but that does not diminish his candidacy. And even more importantly, we must not equate his defeat with the defeat of the popular movement that was its real power. That popular voice must continue to express itself and its power.
The media attempt to crucify Dean in the last days before the primaries began was based on trivialities such as Dean's yell, his "gaffe" about Saddam's capture being of little value. But the media's personality assassination cannot entirely explain Dean's rapid fall. The slander may have aroused the underlying fears that people had that Dean would have vulnerabilities against Bush in the general election. And the fear that Bush would get another four-year term was too grim to contemplate. I think the movement toward Kerry was based on that determination by a broad base to remove Bush. Kerry was seen as the best-armed leader to go against Bush when all assets are added up, as those things will be played by the media in the actual contest.
So the movement to Kerry is not the defeat of the popular movement that raised Dean, it is its next manifestation. Politics is mercurial. In a few weeks Dean has gone from the pre-ordained winner, to probably defeat. The moving hand writes and, having written, moves on. Kerry is a much stronger candidate than he would have been without Dean. He has been awakened to the cries of the people across the country, far from Washington, who have been deeply betrayed by the Bush regime. Now as they look for a leader, many of them are turning to him, with his history as a military hero, and anti-war leader, and a senator, as the best-equipped to be a leader of the movement to oust Bush. Let's hope he stays true to the people who are reaching out to him.
Even with the corruption of the process by fraudulent voting machines and the kinds of voting fraud we saw in Florida, as well as the power of the media and big money to set the course of things, the sight of this election on the horizon has an awesome power. Even knowing that the corruption of the process put Bush into office when Gore defeated him in the election, the Bush people must tremble when they see the power of the people expressing itself. The senators and congressmen from across the country are feeling pressure, and therefore exerting pressure on the White House. It is a great sight to see. The big politicians know that a popular movement can become so strong that all the weapons and tools they have cannot stop it, cannot control it. This is the kind of focus and power we are seeing surfacing in this early election season. It is an aroused electorate. The sleeping giant is stirring. And it better, because if the Bush regime consolidates its power with another four years, there may be no more opportunities to break its hold for a long time. There may not be any more elections.
Mark Morford wrote one of the most right-on commentaries on the whole stupid Super Bowl breast-bearing fiasco in SFGate. Did Operation Northwoods return? At that time the chiefs of staff were advocating killing civilians and bombing US cities to provoke a war with Cuba. "In the 1980s," writes Jackson Thoreau, "some U.S. government officials came up with Operation Orpheus, a secret plan to provoke a limited nuclear war with the former Soviet Union to cover up Iran-Contra misdeeds and install a military dictatorship in the U.S. Iran-Contra criminal Oliver North, former CIA Director William Casey, and former CIA Director and then-Vice President George Bush Sr. were allegedly heavily involved. In fact, Bush would become president of the provisional military government under the scenario, according to retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Al Martin, a former officer in the secretive Office of Naval Intelligence." Watch Closely as Bush handpicks a commission that will then magically become "independent" to "investigate" the "intelligence failure" that led to the U.S. going to war on false pretenses. The "intelligence failure", as Bush's former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has shown, was that the agencies could not satisfy Bush's demands to come up with an excuse for his invasion of Iraq, a war that had been planned since long before Bush even took office. One of the two heads of the new commission is Laurence Silberman, whom the WSWS describes as "a long-time operative for the Republican right, is an old hand at covering up the crimes of Republican administrations. Appointed by Reagan to the Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., Silberman and fellow right-wing Republican judge David Sentelle in 1990 voided the convictions of Lt. Col. Oliver North and Admiral John Poindexter for crimes related to the Iran-Contra affair. At the heart of Iran-Contra was a secret operation sanctioned by Reagan to finance and arm, in violation of US law, the contra death squads that killed tens of thousands of people in Nicaragua. Silberman’s intervention played a key role in sabotaging the investigation by Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh."
February 9, 2004
You may wonder what supporters of Bush are holding onto, what about him they still believe in after everything he has done has been such a colossal failure for mainstream America (and a boon to the wealthy corporate sectors that give him millions of dollars.) What are they going to go after Kerry on? He's a war hero. He has years more governmental experience than Bush and his record shows some concern for the issues that affect middle America, in contrast to Bush. So what will the Monica Lewinsky Guard come up with to go after him on? A story in the New York Times gives us a clue, saying, "Conservatives Use Gay Union as Rallying Cry". Kerry's support of allowing gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual ones is apparently the most horrifying thing in the world to some of Bush's "Christian" right supporters. Never mind lying to drive the country into a fraudulent war. No problem with environmental policies that seriously threaten the survival of human life on planet earth in the coming decades. No problem with policies that break the middle class down and drive its former members into poverty while rich corporations who put offices offshore to avoid contributing to the tax burden of America. What the right wing is worried about is "Gay Unions." Whoa! That's pretty scary all right! It's ludicrous, obviously, but in another sense it's not so funny. Having people with that consciousness in charge of the most powerful governmental and military entity in history is extremely scary. The world is in grave danger when the greatest power is in the hands of medieval minds who have no capacity of understanding the real threats to human beings on earth. Get them out! Bush doesn't want the 9/11 commission to see his daily intelligence reports. Gee, wonder why. According to MSNBC, Bush is "mollify[ing]" commission head Tom Keane by giving them two months more to convene the panel, but he still won't give him any documents to look at during those two months. Without the documents, the report "will not withstand the laugh test," one commission official says. Strong words from the New York Times. "Bush's new commission to review why the intelligence on Iraq misfired looks more like an effort to deflect attention until after the election than a genuine attempt to get to the bottom of the Iraq fiasco ... And Mr. Bush withheld the mandate to get at the big political question they could answer: Did the administration hype intelligence to increase support for the war? ... This group lacks the stature and name recognition that would give its findings commanding credibility. Worse yet, it looks as if Mr. Bush, who chose not to allow a truly independent panel, will limit its mandate to a review of intelligence gathering and analysis." Scott Ritter, in the Houston Chronicle, says, "Despite the deaths of more than 525 American service members in Iraq, David Kay insisted that the blame for the failure to find the expected weapons lies not with the president and his administration -- which had relentlessly pushed for war -- but rather with the U.S. intelligence community, which had, according to Kay, provided inaccurate assessments. The Kay remarks appear to be an attempt to spin potentially damaging data in a way that is to the president's political advantage. President Bush's decision to create an "independent commission" to investigate the intelligence failure reinforces this suspicion, since such a commission would only be given the mandate to examine intelligence data, and not the policies and decision-making processes that made use of that data. More disturbing, the proposed commission's findings would be delayed until late fall, after the November 2004 presidential election." Check out Laurence Silberman's impressive far-right resume. According to Jim Lobe, writing on Common Dreams, says, "In 1980, when he served as part of former Republican president Ronald Reagan's senior campaign staff, he played a key role in setting up secret contacts between the Reagan-Bush campaign and the Islamic government in Tehran, in what became known as the 'October Surprise' controversy ... Rewarded with his appeals court judgeship several years later, Silberman helped advise right-wing activists during the 1990s on strategies for pursuing allegations of sexual misconduct by then-Democratic president Bill Clinton, according to various accounts ... Several years later, Silberman cast the deciding vote on a three-judge panel in a decision that resulted in dismissing the criminal convictions of Admiral John Poindexter and Lt Col Oliver North for lying to Congress in connection with the [Iran Contra] scandal." The Financial Times, says, "In 1998, the judge [Silberman] issued a scathing opinion in an appeals court ruling that allowed special prosecutor Kenneth Starr to gain testimony of secret service agents as part of his investigation into whether Democratic president Bill Clinton had lied about his relationship with an intern, Monica Lewinsky". Twenty-seven year CIA analyst Ray McGovern says, "February 5 has been chosen two years running for rhetoric aimed at what Socrates termed "making the worse cause appear the better"—last year by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN and Thursday by CIA Director George Tenet at Georgetown University. As with Powell’s spurious depiction of the threat from Iraq, Tenet’s disingenuous tour de force becomes more embarrassing the closer you look. Tenet chose to defend the indefensible—the bogus National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) hurriedly conjured up in September 2002 to support spurious charges made by Vice President Dick Cheney on August 26, 2002, in beating the drum for war on Iraq. The conclusions of that estimate have now been proven—pure and simple—wrong." Tome Paine. Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, who said in 2000 he was "99% sure" Bush never reported for duty in Alabama, may be on the verge of changing his memory. So get ready for this coming "revelation". According to Democrats.com, "Turnipseed is a "strong Bush supporter," according to FreeRepublic.com, so it is not surprising that he is softening his claim by saying he might not have been at the base. In that case, is Turnipseed admitting to being AWOL himself? Of course, no one else in the Alabama ANG ever saw Bush - including Capt. Kenneth K. Lott and all of the other guardsmen. This is despite ads in Air Force newspapers and highly-publicized rewards from Alabama veterans. We have collected all of Gen. Turnipseed's statements to prove that Turnipseed never saw Bush." Time published a reasonably good overview of the Bush military history. Eric Alterman in the Miami Herald, said, "Bush himself said that he enlisted in the National Guard to avoid Vietnam. He told one reporter, `I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.' Though Bush -- the privileged son of a Houston congressman at the time -- did manage to land one of those hard-to-get spots in the Air National Guard, he does not appear to have made the most of his opportunity to 'better himself.' According to a lengthy investigation by Walter V. Robinson of The Boston Globe -- one of the few journalists to delve into the matter during the 2000 election -- Bush flew no flights for more than 1 ˝ years during 1972 and 1973, and it appears that he didn't even report for duty." New Howard Zinn interview at USAmnesia.com. Salon is considering evidence that Bush stopped flying because of a new policy of random drug testing at that time. Capitol Hill Blue editor Bill McTavish writes, "I requested copies of Bush's military records as well as the records of the guard units in Houston and Alabama from May 1972 through May 1973 and went through them page by page. I could not find any record of Bush attending any guard meetings during that period, nor were there records of him performing any service for either unit ... With such a record of absences, Bush could have been declared AWOL (absent without leave) or -- in extreme cases -- desertion. Normally, when a guard member or reservist misses a certain number of meetings, they are sent to active duty military ... So the man who kissed off his military obligations 32 years ago and let others fight and die in his place later became President of the United States and ordered still others to fight and die. Which is a disgrace for those young men and women who have died in Iraq. It's one thing to fight and die for your country. It's something else to do it for a deserter." "Only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq," say Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest in Mother Jones. "Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon's Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq's weapons and ties to terrorists. 'It wasn't intelligence‚ -- it was propaganda,' she says. 'They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together.' It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials‚ -- including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell's testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February‚ -- that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war."