April 2004

Realism in Surrealistic Times

John Kerry's campaign has been disappointing, since it had its one big surge right before the primary season came to its climax in New Hampshire and through several rounds of elections, but has sputtered since the excitement of the campaign has worn off. He has not really seized the critical moment to articulate a vision that will ignite the people. Extremely disappointing considering the stakes. He didn't seem to be able to grab the opportunities to make a point based on the ongoing disaster of the Bush "presidency." He's faded back to the same too-safe character that he was back when no one paid any attention to him -- and for solid reasons. Okay, John. The others, the non-Bush multitudes have put their faith in you to get George Bush out of the White House while there is still a United States of America. Let's show a little shine!

It is not a time for anything approaching complacency, or even cautiousness. It is a time for bold action. Kerry, don't disappoint us.

Here's the perspective on this. Bush must go. Kerry is the only man behind whom the world can unite to oust Bush -- and thereby survive perhaps to fight another day about the details. I wish Kerry were the man I imagine him to be when I am hoping for a leader who can depose the medieval fiefdom now running the U.S. military regime. Many of those things people are saying about him may be true -- his campaign is disappointing... -- but: John Kerry is the only man standing between the Bush administration and another four years of that network's particular brand of piracy.

So just as all the nitpicking about Gore had some relative validity, he was wonkish, boorishly didactic at times, did not really have a pleasing demeanor, was a bit haughty at times, seemed unable to really get loose, etc. All somewhat valid comments within a narrow sort of fashion-statement context. But these are all entirely useless considerations when considering the alternative: the Bush administration. I think it's pretty clearly established by now that the Bush administration has turned out worse than its most ardent detractors ever predicted.

So say what you will about Al Gore or John Kerry, George Bush must be stopped. And that means everyone with any awareness of the changes in US governance in recent years must unite behind the candidate who is our only hope right now of unseating the most destructive regime that has ever occupied the executive branch of the US.

Somewhat in that spirit, I refer you to

April 17, 2004

Asian Dispatch

I see we have another "tape attributed to Bin Laden." That's getting to be a tired routine. There's seldom any attention paid in the news reports to the verification of the tapes authenticity. Bin Laden is becoming a disembodied entity used to rouse and manipulate the masses. Very strange. Very 1984.

On Thursday, the South China Morning Post and the International Herald Tribune both show the same picture of Bush with his lips pursed so tightly he looks almost like the guy who could swallow his own nose. The headline on the Post says, "'Rambling' Bush has no apoligies: President tells media he's made mistakes but none come to mind." The Herald Tribune, which is published by the New York Times, is more sympathetic to Bush, but not much.

Scanning the cable news I see Rumsfeld in a report on World News talking about how troops who had done their time in Iraq and were supposed to go home are now not going. He looks grumpier and more disagreeable than ever. He seems to think if he is nasty enough he can drive away the tough questions.

Friday's International Herald Tribune shows a large picture of South Koreans demonstrating against Dick Cheney with fists in the air and signs calling Cheney a war criminal and saying "You are not welcome." The headline on the story, which starts on page three says, "South Korea stays firmly behind the U.S. on Iraq."

9/11 commission revelations continue to roll out day by day. Friday's Herald Tribune shows a picture on its front page of CIA director George Tenet doing the pursed-lips pose. A memo presented to him in August 2001 said, "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly" about the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui, but no one did anything.

Links to check out:

  • More reports on attempts to plant WMDs in Iraq. "Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious shipments of WMD into the country." Mehr News
  • William Rivers Pitt deconstructs Bush's ridiculous press conference. Truthout
  • "This has been tough weeks in that country. " See the text of the press conference. Brace yourself.
  • "Trust, don't verify" -- William Saleton in Slate on Bush's incredible version of credibility.
  • Bush's press conference shows he is a dangerous man, according to Lew Rockwell. "Bush is alarming, the kind of president who seems capable of blowing up the world and calling it good."
  • On Air America being pulled from the air in L.A. and Chicago for allegedly bouncing a check, see Blah3.com
  • 9/11 and the Smoking Gun, by Pepe Escobar. Asia Times
  • April is the worst month of the war for American casualties. Lunaville.org
  • Bush was on vacation August 2001. George Tenet was also "on leave."
  • HeadBlast is blocked in China according to cyber.law.harvard.edu
  • HeadBlast appears in a list of antiwar weblogs in The Guardian

    April 18, 2004

  • This could be explosive if true: A Washington Post headline says: "Powell Very Sharply Criticizes Bush's War in Iraq". (See veteransforcommonsense.org.) According to reporter William Hamilton, "the current Bush administration is staffed with a 'Gestapo' led by Vice President Richard Cheney. The 'Gestapo' was Adolf Hitler's notorious and infamous Nazi secret police in Germany during World War II. Powell's comments mark the highest level direct attack within President George Bush's administration and their failed policies of unilateral and pre-emptive war against Iraq. Bush also secretly spent $700 million Congress appropriated for the war against terror in Afghanistan to plan the invasion and occupation of Iraq without informing Congress or many of his top aides. A $700 million lie? With nearly 700 U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq?
  • Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of housing under George Bush I, wrote an open letter to Condoleezza Rice. She said, "You are a liar." See Global Research
  • Chomsky on Iraq, the U.S. presidential election and and Saddamn Hussein. Zmag

    April 18, 2004

    HONG KONG -- A friend writes that it would be a good idea for any American traveling overseas to wear an "I hate Bush" t-shirt. What a great idea! I think I am going to get to work manufacturing such an item. I'm sure I could make a million, although surely many others have already started doing it. But it would be a good angle to market them specifically to travelers. You could sell them at airports and other points of departure and they would probably sell like mad. Americans traveling in other countries, instead of being shunned could be like the Beatles, or Muhammad Ali, parading through the city mobbed with admirers and well-wishers. Imagine!
  • John Pilger writes in The New Statesman that he never felt safer in any country than he felt traveling in Iraq four years ago. Now, he said, if he were to try to travel there, he may not get out alive. The propaganda machine that presents the Iraq invasion as some sort of noble struggle is so far out of touch with the reality the rest of the world knows, that Americans are in danger of becoming perilously isolated. Get out, Pilger writes, before you are driven out.
  • Life after the oil crash. Not a pretty thought to contemplate. ""Interest in the Titanic has been revived because it's the perfect metaphor for our nation. Intuitively, we know this is true. We just don't want to admit we've already hit the iceberg."
  • Life after the oil crash. ""Interest in the Titanic has been revived because it's the perfect metaphor for our nation. Intuitively, we know this is true. We just don't want to admit we've already hit the iceberg." " lifeaftertheoilcrash.net
  • Strong words from Michael Moore: "There is a lot of talk amongst Bush's opponents that we should turn this war over to the United Nations. Why should the other countries of this world, countries who tried to talk us out of this folly, now have to clean up our mess? I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

    April 19, 2004

  • "After three weeks of extraordinary public hearings and a dozen detailed reports, the lengthy documentary record makes clear that predictions of an attack by Al Qaeda had been communicated directly to the highest levels of the government. The threat reports were more clear, urgent and persistent than was previously known. Some focused on Al Qaeda's plans to use commercial aircraft as weapons. Others stated that Osama bin Laden was intent on striking on United States soil. Many were passed to the Federal Aviation Administration," says the New York Times. The Bush administration's compulsion for suppression of information regarding 9/11 may have worked exactly opposite to intentions and put the administration in the position of having the most damning revelations coming out just as election time rolls around.
  • Maureen Dowd on Colin Powell's comments about Cheney's Gestapo in the White House. New York Times.
  • Further 9/11 Mysteries -- The FAA rescinded a 40-year-old rule allowing pilots in cockpits to be armed just a few months before the attacks. World Net Daily
  • The new Spanish leader gave orders to bring troops home from Iraq. Polls say 72% of Spanish want them withdrawn. Some say this is giving in to terrorism, but there is a problem with that argument. The cause of having troops in Iraq is unjust, and is itself terrorism. The new P.M. is just listening to his people, which his ousted predecessor wasn't. If the cause was just, it would be worth standing firm in spite of attacks. But when the attacks are seen as reprisals against a policy that the country cannot in good conscience support, the attacks are merely a reminder. The point is the policy itself. The invasion of Iraq had no legal or moral basis, not even a coherent policy justification. AP
  • Calling a Crisis a Crisis -- Only days ago Bush's PR was trying to characterize the revolt in Iraq as isolated and lacking broad support among Iraqis. Typically the PR spin was the Bush administration's primary consideration, but it's so quickly and effectively being proven wrong the administration is revising its assessment of the situation. Washington Post
  • Condi Rice is saying terrorist attacks in the U.S. before the election are more or less inevitable. Of course with the same people in control of the government now as then and not admitting any fault, just saying they didn't know, it's not very likely that attacks can be any better prevented now than in 2001. 9/11 was also the best thing that ever happened the Bush administration, to Bush's poll ratings, to the facilitation of the Bush/corporate agenda, so why wouldn't they welcome a repeat? And if they feel desperate over election prospects, they would have the satisfaction of giving the fear of terrorism one final shot before the election. If they are losing in the polls, they may be able to boost their ratings again as they did after 9/11, or at least get one final swipe in at the population who is rejecting them.
  • "A hated occupier is powerless even with all the firepower in the world." "It's Ayatollah al-Sistani, not the Americans, who champions direct elections. We turned Mr. al-Sadr from a simmering menace into a martyr by shutting down his incendiary newspaper, Al Hazwa." New York Times

    April 20, 2004

  • More grounds for impeachment -- (Remember the little lie about the sexual tryst that got Clinton impeached?) Now it has come to light that George W. Bush, the acting "president", diverted $700 million that Congress appropriated for the operation in Afghanistan, which was arguably a function of the operation to capture the alleged perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, to his little pet war in Iraq, which was not justified by anything the Bushites could think of. He just took the money and did what he wanted without the consent or even the knowledge of Congress. CBS.
  • Was this a violation of the law? Of course. Just ask American Progress. See also The Nation.
  • Meanwhile, Condi Rice told Face the Nation it was okay for Bush to take the money and put it into the war in Iraq because it's the "same region." Whew! That's a good one. That's up there with the "rough sex" justification for murder, or the "twinkie defense." Same region? Someone show Condi a world atlas! I guess Austria, Poland and France were all in the same region as Nazi Germany, right? Maybe we should retroactively cancel our actions against Hitler in World War II. But then, there is that little matter of national borders, sovereignty. I guess that's a detail that is unimportant to Bushes. More of those "swatting flies" kinds of details. "It would be a heckuva lot easier if this was a dictatorship," said Georgey Porgey.
  • "Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA warned in a classified report that Islamic extremists likely would strike on U.S. soil at landmarks in Washington or New York, or through the airline industry, according to intelligence officials," says John Solomon of the AP
  • George Bush has legitimized terrorism, says Robert Fisk in The Independent. "So President George Bush tears up the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and that's okay. Israeli settlements for Jews and Jews only on the West Bank. That's okay. Taking land from Palestinians who have owned that land for generations, that's okay. UN Security Council Resolution 242 says that land cannot be acquired by war. Forget it. That's okay."
  • Voters are getting rattled, "unnerved" by the war in Iraq, according to a nervous Republican governor, as quoted in the New York Times. And here we find again the peculiar report that although fewer and fewer people "trust" George W. Bush, his "approval ratings remain high." What are these mysterious "approval ratings" that remain high even when a vast majority don't like anything Bush does?
  • Bush appointed war criminal Negroponte as envoy to Iraq and the Hondurans saw the light (or saw red) and decided to pull their troops out of Iraq. Tom Paine
  • Though Bush said no one in our government could have imagined hijacked planes used as weapons, NORAD was running drills in preparation for just such an outcome. USA Today

    April 21, 2004

  • Michael Ruppert examines Condoleezza Rice's testimony to the 9/11 commission and compares her claims to the known facts in "Lies a Sixth Grader Wouldn't Believe".
  • Here Comes the Draft -- It's coming. The drum is beating louder and louder. AFP
  • Blair's support tanking. Guardian
  • Conservatives backing away from neoconservatives. New York Times.
  • American casualties in first three weeks of April matches pre "mission accomplished" period. Americans waking to the nightmare. Reuters

    April 22, 2004

    Democracy Right Now

  • Dennis Kucinich's site is good, his message is great. He's not likely to be president this coming election, or even the Democratic candidate, so you might say, Why is Kucinich still talking about picking up delegates? But I say you go right on ahead Dennis, because what you are saying is good and people need leaders to articulate a vision and focus their energies. Kucinich is not running as a third-party candidate, so he doesn't take on that spoiler aspect of Ralph Nader by continuing to campaign. Kerry must be supported because Bush must be defeated and there isn't room to give up a single advantage, what with rigged voting machines and all the tricks that were pulled in Florida likely to be pulled this time. But at the same time, Kerry does not articulate a truly inspired alternative to George W. Bush. He got a little bolder after Dean got the electorate ignited and Kerry realized he had to take on some of Dean's positions and attitudes to hope to capture the nomination. That's when he and all the candidates sounded their best. Now Kerry has faded back into his overcautious middle-of-the-roadism, and he is in danger of blowing it in these crucial early moments of the campaign when he is being defined for a public that barely knows him, and will solidify its opinions of him very soon. So Kerry looks more and more like a Republican, trying to outdo the Republicans in being a big tough guy willing to throw around American military power for the benefit of Big Business. His recent complaint that Bush wasn't doing enough for democracy in Venezuela got me a little worried because the word "democracy" when American politicians talk about Venezuela is code for a kind of oligarchical control by US business interests. It's important for Kucinich and others to continue to articulate a more populist, less corporate, more democratic, less autocratic, more humanistic, less killing-machine style vision for the people. Organizations like MoveOn.org have demonstrated the immediate power of grassroots political organizing. Policies can be changed right now, today. Democracy is not all summed up in waiting for the next election to vote for a candidate that may choose to take your opinions into consideration but will be more likely to be seduced by the Big Corporate Money and forget you exist, and the elections are all rigged in every possible way anyway, so then you don't get a candidate who will represent you or the majority and you wait until the next election. Democratic power can be exercised right now, week by week, especially now in a time when an election is on the horizon and a lot of politicians are getting a little nervous. So Dennis, keep on speaking out and articulating an alternative vision, and everyone else do the same. The people can bring issues to attention of the wider public and force politicians to address the issues, to be accountable for their actions. Kerry himself needs to be pushed to take the right positions, just as Bush had to be pushed to let Condoleezza testify for the 9/11 commission. We've seen a number of outrageous policies floated out there and then forced into retreat because of public outcry. This is no time for complacency. Elect Kerry, but keep making your voice heard to force all politicians to be accountable to the people, not just their big-money supporters.

    April 22, 2004

  • The Man Can Do No Wrong. Somehow, after all the death in the last few weeks, more killed in April than in all the time before the "Mission Accomplished" performance, with Bush's ridiculous press conference, with Condi Rice going in front of the 9/11 commission and saying, "Duh, we didn't know nothin", Bush has surged in the polls. Go figure. CBS
  • Bush gutted overtime pay requirements. Daily Misleader
  • And knowing he can get away with murder -- on a mass scale -- Bush now sets his sights on his next war, proclaims "Iran will be dealt with." Washington Post


    April 24, 2004

    And some other notable links:

  • The Voice's James Ridgeway looks at Paul Thompson and the Center for Cooperative Research, who have compiled a definitive 9/11 Timeline website.
  • Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, says she now regrets the stories she did that bolstered the Bush claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, his justification for war. Hampton Roads
  • The Real Lessons of 9/11. Ron Paul at LewRockwell.com.
  • Zogby, who has been noticeably closer to the mark than most pollsters in recent years, asserts that Kerry is still ahead, with no drop. Hmmmm... Washington Post
  • Salon invokes the memory of the Iran Contra scandals and the resurgance of its methods under Bush II.
  • Voting machine king (and Nebraska longshot senator) Chuck Hagel is floating the military draft proposal in the public as an errand for the Bush administration. This is a virtually inevitable move. It has been in the planning for a long long time, it is getting very close now. The administration has now leaped into a degree of military commitment that will soon deplete the available human bodies. This is going to be the shot heard round the world, and the beginning of the final undoing of the Bush-Cheney network. No way the young people of today are going to willingly renounce their rights as citizens and even their right to life. There's too much good stuff to live for. If the politicians in Washington take that step, they deserve what happens to them next. AFB
  • AshcroftOnline 1.0 If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you need privacy for?
  • Banana Republic of America -- "US heading for another election fiasco as reforms fail" says the Independent

    April 26, 2004

  • "My personal belief is that these machines were built with fraud in mind." Check out "I Want My Country Back".
  • One of Maureen Dowd's best moments, as she discusses "Bushworld," where "you can reign as the antiterror president even after hearing an intelligence report about Al Qaeda's plans to attack America and then stepping outside to clear brush."New York Times
  • letsroll911.org

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