August 1, 2004
Up from the EarthIn a Hoboken backyard today I sat under the broiling, nearly tropical July sun. Since the last time I noticed, a huge canopy of lush green vegetation had grown from the fence that marks the end of the property to a point 15 feet into the yard. The unusually rainy spring and summer have produced a prodigious growth of vegetation across the country, and the city is in no way immune from it.
Part of the natural canopy appeared to be some kind of thick vine system. Then as I looked at it, I suddenly noticed that part of it had the familiar leaf pattern of the Canadian flag. It was a maple tree that had sprouted out from under the chain link fence and grown out sideways about eight feet over the concrete patio in the backyard of this apartment building. It was amazing.
The vigor of the natural growth was stunning. Biologists would call it "aggressive," and you couldn't deny it standing by this tree that had pushed its way out of the earth and defied any human discipline. It demonstrated graphically that it would take little time for nature to reclaim the city if the people were for some reason no longer here. How long until the trees and vines forced their way through the very bricks and concrete, split them apart, obscured them and sent them on their way to final decay and destruction?
It reminded me of the political movement that is growing up in this country like a natural phenomenon, which I think it is. The Bushes have asserted their legal right to postpone or cancel elections and the population has recoiled against the suggestion with a display of power that inspires awe.
Only less than a year ago, the alarms sounding about the corruption of the voting machines was one of many such alarms that were dismissed as just more "conspiracy theory." That was before the administration and other members of its set had sent up numerous trial balloons about doing away with elections. That was back when the only people talking about that were the "conspiracy theorists" who were anticipating that the administration just might like to try such a move.
It was really only a natural extension of a series of policies of the administration beginning with its blatantly extra-legal seizure of power through an illegitimate exercise of power by the Supreme Court allies of Bush, followed by a nearly unbroken series of pulling out of international treaties and violation of international law and the Constitution. So it was not a great step to expect the Bushies to try the same thing with the next presidential election. Especially when there were indications that they could not win a fair election -- again.
But as of the Democratic Convention, and with the rise of an alternative media that will actually show some of it, it is apparent that there is a mobilization growing up with a kind of natural vigor that is similar to that of the growth of vegetation in nature. The Bushies say they may not want to have an election. The population is saying nothin' doin'. There is going to be an election because the Constitution mandates it, and the population recognizes that law as valid and supreme over the one-man rule that the corporate oligarchy seeks to establish.
That little piece of parchment seemed weak and defenseless when the Ashcroft-Rumsfeld-Cheney-Bush mob were treating it with the disdain they treated every citizen and every other country with for most of their disastrous term. The Patriot Act struck down most of the rights of the Bill of Rights, and who could expect the demonstrably corrupt Supreme Court to do anything about it after the way they stopped the counting of votes to put their man into power?
But now this natural power is rising over the horizon, making the power of the Constitution manifest in the power of the people, and suddenly the little piece of parchment doesn't seem so defenseless. It may yet humble those arrogant men who contemptuously treated it like a scrap of paper. The material may be nothing much. They could pull it out of its case and make it "disappear" like Bush's military records, like the records of Cheney's energy task force, like so many Arab Americans who were imprisoned without right to trial.
But the ideas that are drawn up in that document will not be so easy to eradicate. The population is investing that document with new life, and the document is giving the population the authority it needs to overthrow this group of pirates that has tried to seize control of this government and turn it into an authoritarian corporate empire.
With Bush II, the corporate state was finally ready to come out in the open and declare dictatorial rule. It was tired of having to operate covertly. It wanted to throw off the bonds of law, the restraints of the Constitution. This used to be considered a fantastic conspiracy theory, but I notice that kind of dismissal is happening less and less. Anyone who looks at the daily unfolding of the administration's contempt for law and any limits to its power as spelled out clearly in its National Security Strategy, can hardly deny that the Bush regime represents an attempt by a corporate oligarchy to overthrow the democratic republic of the U.S. and establish a corporate empire that will rule the world by military force. Now people are taking the threat more seriously and a movement is growing up against it like a raging prairie fire.
What could very well happen, and what I fervently hope does happen, is that the movement will grow into a landslide that cannot be restrained no matter how corrupt the voting machines. This time the people will not be caught off guard as last time. This time we will fight as ruthlessly to maintain the law as the Republicans have to destroy it.
Bush for Choice -- Larry Flynt on Bush's alleged financing of an illegal abortion in 1971. If true, it would only be in character with most of the big money Republicans who claim to be "pro life", but when it comes to them personally, they reserve the right to exercise choice. Larry Flynt: "In 2000, I got a call from a lawyer in Houston. He told me that his client, "Susan," could prove that George W. Bush arranged for his girlfriend to have an abortion back in the early 1970s. Her boyfriend at the time, "Clyde," was pals with Bush and set up the procedure. We checked up and found that indeed "Clyde" was responsible for keeping Bush out of trouble. Bush had knocked up a girl named "Rayette." We talked to the doctor that performed the abortion. We felt we really had a blockbuster story, but about two months before we were going to break the story, "Susan" disappeared. We finally found her. She was living in a half-million-dollar home in Corpus Christi, Texas. Before that she was living in a small apartment working for $13,000 a year as a cocktail waitress. I'm not saying Bush bought her off, but I'm confident that one or more of his cronies did. The only thing that interested me in this story is---I'm pro-choice, but to have a guy who is running on a pro-life platform ... and this procedure was committed in 1971, two years before Roe vs. Wade, which would have made it a crime. See The Blacklisted Journalist. CNN's Balloon Divination: Note from a friend -- "You're dead on about the whore pundits. I turned on CNN following Kerry's speech and they were going on and on about how the fact that the balloons weren't falling quickly enough to the floor of the arena was an ominous sign for Kerry's presidential aspirations. Apparently, the last time balloons fell this slowly at a political convention was at Carter's 1980 convention, and we all know how that turned out. They were actually saying this!!! And I've grown so accustomed to this kind of thing, it didn't even surprise me that they were spewing this bullshit. Then they brought on RNC man Ed Gillespie to explain " Update on Bush's Psychological State -- "Cabinet officials, senior White House aides and leaders on Capitol Hill complain privately about the increasing lack of 'face time' with the President and campaign advisors are worried the depressed President may not be up to the rigors of a tough re-election campaign. 'Yes, there are concerns,' a top Republican political advisor admitted privately Wednesday. 'The George W. Bush we see today is not the same, gregarious, back-slapping President of old. He’s moody, distrustful and withdrawn.'... White House aides say Bush has retreated into a tightly-controlled environment where only top political advisors like Karl Rove and Karen Hughes are allowed. Even White House chief of staff Andrew Card complains he has less and less access to the President. Among cabinet members, only Attorney General John Ashcroft, a fundamentalist who shares many of Bush’s strict religious convictions, remains part of the inner circle. White House aides call Bush and Ashcroft the 'Blue Brothers' because, like the mythical movie characters, 'both believe they are on a mission from God.'" Capitol Hill Blue E.J. Dionne: Democrats, for once, are on the offensive. Working for Change
August 1, 2004
FocusNote from a friend:
Kerry's military platform really concerns me. He is far too bellicose for my taste, and was the most hawkish of all the Democratic presidential contenders. He is out-Republican-ing the Republicans. I find it very troubling that he is calling for increasing the size of the armed forces, when we should be disengaging, if anything.
That is why I remain lukewarm about him, will vote for him because of Bush hatred, but cannot get excited about his candidacy or supporting him more actively. L
I share your concerns, but have a different reaction to them. The fact that Kerry is not quite where I would like him to be doesn't make me want any less for him to beat Bush. The possibility that I might wake up to another four years of Bush and have to live with the knowledge that I didn't do everything I could to stop it is a frightening one. At this point that is an either-or scenario. There are no gray areas.
In fact I am increasingly impressed by the positions that Kerry takes or his explanations of his positions, or the Kerry history I learn about, like his major involvement in investigations of Iran-Contra, drug running by the Contras and BCCI.
However, he is a mortal in an imperfect system and I cannot expect perfection. I cannot expect him to fall exactly in the same spot on the continuum of political opinions as myself.
His reasons for supporting the resolution to authorize Bush to use force seem reasonable to me. I would have preferred more aggressive leadership against that fraud. But he says he authorized Bush to use force if several criterion were met: exhaust all diplomatic options; allow the inspectors to complete their work; gain a formal resolution of UN support; and then if all those are done and there is no other solution but force, then plan for the aftermath of the attack. Bush did not fulfill those commitments. And it is reasonable that Kerry acted on expectations of good faith on the part of Bush.
Also, the senators were acting on the faked intelligence that was presented to them by Bush. Bush had access to information they didn't have and he gave them a distorted picture.
So yes, Kerry should have known Bush is a liar and should have pressed harder for answers, verifications. But his position is justifiable under the circumstances. The political realm requires compromises that are often not pretty. He has to play the game as he sees fit, because he could be permanently sidelined and rendered ineffective if he makes certain mistakes.
As in a legal case, you sometimes have to give your opponent the benefit of the doubt before you take action.
Clinton likewise made many compromises I regret. But he was under siege constantly.
I do see soberly that I am and will be disappointed with some of Kerry's positions. My strategy now is to unite and focus all possible energy on getting Bush out of the White House. This is an emergency. Bush represents a corporate oligarchy that has made a move to end constitutional law and change the U.S. from a democratic republic to an empire. This must be arrested. When that is done and we re-establish a legal government, we must continue to push Kerry toward better positions. He will need us to do that to keep him from being strongarmed by right wing and corporatist forces.
That's what I think about it.
Thanks for writing.
August 2, 2004
Bush's Betrayal of conservative and libertarian principles -- Charley Reese U.S. Economy Slows Drastically in Spring -- gadsdentimes Good Times for Bush Supporters -- Condoleezza Rice's old company Chevron doubled its profits in the second quarter. LA Times Learn from my mistake, says Jackson Thoreau: Don’t throw your vote away by supporting Nader. Half a bottle of wine a day is good for the brain, research shows. Telegraph
August 3, 2004
Demolition Time -- "What's missing from Fahrenheit 9/11 — the first movie to demolish a president" by Jan Lundberg, from the July 4 Culture Change Newsletter Comforting Myth -- The phone calls that were said to have been made from the hijacked 9/11 flights couldn't have happened, according to 911 dossier: Newsletter 3.4.2003 Kerry leads 50-44 in new poll. Washington Post
August 4, 2004
Liberty MockedThe reopening of the base of the Statue of Liberty became a Republican hypocrisy fest, as does any event within the grasp of the evil empire.
While Tom Ridge, Bush, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Cheney are issuing grave reports of danger danger danger, the scheduled reopening went ahead as if nothing happened -- and of course it was true. All that happened was that the administration needed some spin to counteract the Democratic convention and Bush's continued plunge in the polls. So what does the PR administration pull out? Fear, of course. The only trump card it has ever had.
While the theater of military toughs with big rifles unfolded in the city streets, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki and Gale Norton took the opportunity to get a little political publicity out of an event that was entirely contradictory to everything the administration was saying about new (three year old) threats.
It's the constantly mixed signals that is their Orwellian style of governing through the paralysis of fear. They are the terror administration.
The camouflage gear of the military men might work well if they were in the jungle. On the streets of New York, they would be better camouflaged with gray suits on. What do they need camouflage for anyway? In fact, what are infantrymen going to do in the event of a bomb attack? They'll blow up just like everyone else.
Having Gale Norton preside over an event at the Statue of Liberty would be more appropriate if they were bringing out a wrecking crew. She was appointed by Bush to tear down the Department of the Interior, to remove all the regulations that keep big corporations from raping the public lands for short term economic gain.
Having Republicans (who today stand today for world corporate empire stamping out democracy and freedom around the world) at a dedication for a statue that was conceived by a group of French intellectuals who were making a statement against the oppressive empires of 19th century Europe is as contradictory as everything this dictatorial administration says about freedom.
The statue is made of copper the thickness of two pennies, held up by a framework designed by another of the hated French, Gustave Eiffel. If anything should have been locked down to protect against a terrorist attack, it would have been that fragile monument. It could be so easily destroyed.
Instead they opened it and brought in a bunch of "Republican" corporatists to give lip service to the things they are fighting hard every day to destroy: liberty and freedom for the "huddled masses" and the "wretched refuse" of the earth.
August 4, 2004
The Other Side of the End -- The responses to the "final word" of the The 9/11 Commission Report are beginning to appear. It's the beginning of a process that will never end entirely. See the "A Citizens' Critique: The 9/11 Commission Process" at 911citizenswatch.org. It includes work by researchers John Judge, Peter Dale Scott, Wayne Madsen, Ralph Schoenmann and Mike Ruppert and is well worth reading. It serves as a good companion to the official report, a sort of Cliff Notes to tell the story behind the story as it appears in the official version. It lets you see the little men dressed in black who are moving the furniture around on stage. Where is the Failure of Imagination Now? According to Bev Conover, editor and publisher of Online Journal, the 9/11 Commission was a whitewash. Now posted at 911citizenswatch.org, Conover's article says, "The commission has the audacity to falsely talk about the failure of "imagination." The imagination was there, but the commission chose not to mention Operation Northwoods, dreamt up by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962, which laid out a scenario similar to what happened on 9-11, as a way of conning the American people into going to war against Castro. Nor did the commission make any reference to the Project for a New American Century, which said the US might need a 'new Pearl Harbor' to achieve global hegemony. Nowhere does the commission point out that Osama bin Laden was the CIA's point man in Afghanistan, during the time the Reagan administration was bent on pushing the Soviets out of that country. Nor does the commission note that al Qaeda is a creature of the CIA, born out of the Afghan Mujahadeen, which it armed and financed. Yes, we loved those 'Muslims' when they were doing our dirty work, but they have served their purpose and now they are 'evildoers.' " Bush plays the fear card again. How far can he push it? How far will he go to make it real? Howard Dean, according to The Independent (quoting CNN), said, "I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore, at times of difficulty for America, stick with me' and then out comes Tom Ridge. It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it." Then the news broke that the information was three years old. (See Washington Post. New York Times) William Rivers Pitt on Truthout: "George W. Bush and his administration officials are using terrorism - the fear of it, the fight against it - to manipulate domestic American politics. They are, as they have every day for almost three years now, using September 11 against their own people. They are also getting stumblingly obvious about it. We are being lied to, clumsily, again." Then amid the orange alerts, the National Park Service reopened the Statue of Liberty. (Associated Press: "In an hour-long reopening ceremony, Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged Americans to visit the statue and demonstrate that the country would never be 'coerced into abandoning any symbol of America.'") Bush logic: don't stop shopping and flying, keep on with your lives as normal or the terrorists have won. But we may have to cancel the elections.
August 5, 2004My personal failure of imagination is to be utterly unable to fathom the reasons that some intelligent people who should know better still support Bush. Some are clearly on the winning end of all the corruption, like Halliburton, for example. I can see why Halliburton would support Bush. I can see why a truly bloodthirsty person who hates Muslims, the poor, other races, nationalities, countries, classes, one who just fears the world and hates change would support Bush. But there are many who are not any of that who still support Bush. And people who are definitely smart enough to see through it, but don't. It's perplexing. The misunderstanding runs very deep. I guess it attests to the power of the corporate media to form perceptions, to set the debate. Only 11% of Americans even read a newspaper, I heard recently. Only about the same percentage even have passports. And even the best newspapers, the New York Times as a case in point, have been nearly criminally negligent in regard to reporting the truth of the fraud of the Bush administration, from the corrupt seizure of power in 2000 through the invasion of Iraq, and including all the strange failures and connections of 9/11, still unacknowledged by the mainstream press.
But there are more and more people coming out against Bush, against the corporate attempt to overthrow democratic government in the U.S. The power of it is awesome.
Rock 'em! Over 20 bands are touring nine swing states in a "Vote For Change" campaign to defeat Bush. Included are Bruce Springsteen, REM, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, Jackson Brown, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Rait, John Fogerty, Dave Matthews Band ... It's sponsored by Moveonpac.org. Here is the Artist Declaration: "Vote for Change is a loose coalition of musicians brought together by a single idea — the need to make a change in the direction of our country. We share a belief that this is the most important election of our lifetime. We are fighting for a government that is open, rational, just, and progressive...." Check out the website for more information. Read more at AOL News, of all places. Beyond the Ice Cream Empire -- A great interview with Ben Cohen, founder of Ben & Jerry's on Buzzflash. Cohen: "Bush is, beyond a doubt, the most destructive president that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime -- in terms of trampling the Bill of Rights, in terms of lying to the American public and having a very, very sophisticated propaganda operation to support those lies. They’re boldfaced lies you know he’s saying. On the same day that the 9/11 Commission determines that there was no connection between Saddam and 9/11, Bush and his vice president are out there saying that there was." "Torture, Lies, and the Little Bush Who Cried Wolf" -- This is a good one. "While the world watches to see when, where, or even if Osama bin Laden will cast his vote in America's presidential elections, his odds-on-favorite Mr. Bush has already given him a priceless gift - and not just in Iraq. The untold damage Team Bush has done to American intelligence only helps the Saudi terrorist wage his global holy war, gravely endangering your safety and mine. But do not despair: help is on the way. For several months, some obviously dyspeptic 'deep throats' have been waging their own guerrilla counter-attacks, leaking inside information to hungry journalists, who are no longer as shamefully embedded as they once were." Steve Weissman at Truthout A Tiger by the Tail -- Translated on Truthout.org, Le Monde reflects on the use of terror for political ends. "Under these circumstances, we have to ask ourselves whether it really was a coincidence, or whether this threat was put forward once again to break the Kerry candidacy's surge. In fact, as the New York Times, which, along with The Washington Post, was the first to express some doubts, observed, the polls show that management of terrorist risk is George Bush's sole advantage in an extremely close election. Bush knows he can make easy pickings this way. American public opinion, still traumatized by the September 11, 2001 attacks, is ready to believe a lot. The Democratic opposition cannot allow itself to attack the 'commander-in-chief' about so sensitive a subject and has had to abandon the initiative to the sitting president out of fear - should an incident occur - of being taxed with a lack of patriotism." Truth Outs -- Now that some Guantanamo prisoners have been freed from being held without charge, without trial, without access to counsel, some of the stories about what goes on in Guantanamo are coming out. Some are French, some are British. And they are being heard in their own countries. See The Independent, The Guardian. Tom Ridge: "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security. The detail, the sophistication, the thoroughness of this information, if you had access to it, you'd say we did the right thing." If you had access to what we know, but you don't. Herald Sun The Age Here It Is! A Friend discovered the link to "Healing the Law" by Jonathan Schell, which appears in the current issue of The Nation. It's posted at Common Dreams. It's one of the most fascinating articles I've read lately and I wrote a few comments about why in "Bush's Imperial Vision". Laughter is Good -- I haven't been able to make this work on my computer, but I've seen it, and it's great. Check out "This Land" on Atom Films
August 5, 2004
No Defeat,The Vote For Change Tour through nine swing states by Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, REM and many other major musical artists to unseat Bush and restore legal, progressive government, is the latest in a swell of populist action that is becoming increasingly powerful. It is awesome in the pre-1990 sense of the word. (See more here.)
Many of these are people who have never said a word about a political election. But they obviously are among the rising number who realize this is no ordinary election. This is a movement for elections.
The regime proved in 2000 it has no respect for the electoral process, will derail it when it can to achieve its ends, and for the last year as the date has approached the right wing has increasingly dropped hints that it is going to cancel or "postpone" the elections. This is very very serious.
This is this generation's confrontation with destiny. This is our chance to either preserve and extend the American dream, or let a gang of corporate autocrats use the power of the country we have all built to further their own selfish, corrupt, murderous agenda.
Bruce Springsteen, while showing a political consciousness in his music, has always stayed away from politically partisan statements. He has performed in more general political venues, like the No Nukes concert of the late '70s. But he previously has remained reticent about political candidates and elections. During the 1984 election Ronald Reagan invoked Springsteen's name in a political speech in New Jersey, in effect aligning himself with Springsteen and drawing on the power of Springsteen's loyal following. Springsteen didn't protest. But when Rolling Stone asked him about Reagan, he said, "I don't know if he's a bad man, but I know there are many people whose dreams don't mean anything to him." Now he is less subdued. Now he's angry. (See his piece in New York Times.)
And for good reason. This is it, folks. You want a democratic, free society? Or do you want a corporate world empire? Those are your choices. As Jonathan Schell recently said, a world of law and a world of empire are two mutually exclusive ways of ordering the world. They can no more coexist than two people can ride the same bicycle to two different places. It's not about Republicans and Democrats anymore. It's about maintaining a democratic principle or having one-party rule of the country and a government that despises laws, attacks whoever it wants whenever it wants, advancing lies as its justification, tramples the rights of its own citizens and those around the world.
George W. Bush makes Richard Nixon look benign and progressive, and that is not a joke. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country. Time to make your stand for a democratic, progressive, humane world, one that we know is possible, but is being thwarted now by a corrupt corporate network. It's now or never. There's a war outside raging. They say it ain't ours anymore to win.
We are seeing the reassertion of the principles of feudal aristocracy played out on a new, global scale, with massively concentrated corporate power bent on taking over the world. Only Americans can still exercise power to counteract the takeover. It's an ultimate confrontation between legal, democratic government and autocracy.
Americans are aroused. The principles we were taught in grade school about democracy, freedom and justice are resonating through the country as people become aware of the the Bush administration's assault on those fundamental American principles. If America, which gave birth to constitutional, democratic government, is truly the light of the world, then this is a battle we cannot lose. We cannot accept defeat.
August 6, 2004
Just Sing and Shut Up -- AOL did one of its online polls about the Vote For Change concerts against Bush and asked its members to choose one of three answers: The results were:
Can't they just stick to the music? 52%
It's good to see artists engaged politically 30%
They have a right to speak out, but part of it bugs me 18%
This is absurd for a number of reasons. Of course if Ronald Reagan had stuck to acting a lot of lives would have been saved. And Arnold Schwarzenegger, too, has no qualifications to be governor except being an actor and a bodybuilder. But there are no qualifications required to participate in American politics. So why shouldn't an "entertainer" be able to participate in politics as much as anyone else?
It's also self-contradictory because everyone casting a vote in that online poll is participating in politics. Obviously most of them don't have the power to affect as many people as Springsteen. But they are doing what they can, making their voice heard on the AOL poll. And if they had the power to express their opinion in a way that counted more than as one little digit in an AOL poll, is there any reason to think they wouldn't? Why should they deny the same privilege to others? Why should anyone who considers it their right to express their political opinion deny the same right to Bruce Springsteen? But then, these are probably not the 11% of Americans who actually read newspapers. Or whatever percentage actually thinks.
Bush Camp Slanders Kerry Like It Once Slandered McCain -- McCain referring to a nasty anti-Kerry ad that blasts his military service: "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me ... I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War." ABC A Timeline Comparing the Lives of Bush and Kerry. Amazing. Independent Media Men Tell War Stories of Iraq -- Mass Live Wanted: Techies To Help Guard Against Vote Tampering. verifiedvoting.org Bush: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." CNN