October 12, 2003
Happy unColumbus Day
Happy Columbus Day, a celebration of what is worst about Western "Civilization." Bush's Iraq catastrophe just gets worse and worse -- for everyone. Now a car bomb has gone off in Baghdad, killing six Iraqi security guards and wounding more than 35 other people. (See the New York Times. See The Guardian: "Another day in Iraq, another bomb - 84 dates that tell tale of mayhem". "Analysis of California recall data confirms voting system doubts" from Rebecca Mercuri. The counted votes are 383,000 less than the number cast. Over 4% of the total evaporated into cyberspace. From "The Risks Digest: Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems". Many newspapers recently got letters from soldiers in Iraq. Many soldiers, same letter. The latest propaganda scheme of the kings of propaganda. See The Olympian.
October 13, 2003
Bush takes "Good News in Iraq show to small town America. Observer Israeli Playwright Joshua Sobol says he sees dangerous signs of fascism in the Israeli public's chorus of support of militancy. www.haaretz.com Arnold has some trouble on his hands. A state in deep financial trouble, promises not to raise taxes, to repeal the auto tax and not take any money from education. And 383,000 missing votes in California. See sundayherald.com Now borrowing policies from the Israelis, American soldiers are bulldozing the farms of Iraqis who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops, whether they have information to give is irrelevant. The Independent. Stalin's America: A Kansas City writer was recently handcuffed and taken to an interrogation room and asked by a police investigator, "When I look into your writings will I find anything subversive?"
October 14, 2003
Reviving a cherished tradition of the right, brought to the level of a malevolent, barbaric art by Richard Nixon, the NRA cultivates an enemies list. See Bob Herbert in the New York Times for details. People like Dr. Joyce Brothers, Candice Bergen, Walter Cronkite, Michelle Pfeiffer, the Temptations and Moon Zappa are on the list. Bad people to freedom loving gun lovers. If you want a glimpse into the mind of the NRA, its Web address is www.nra.org. Three more Americans killed in Iraq. (See New York Times.) This is a bad, bad situation. Becoming bad for everyone, even the creeps that instigated it. A situation so bad it's probably worse than the worst predictions of the opponents of war. So bad it's unthinkable. So bad American reservists who were called from their jobs as teachers or computer programmers, are losing their minds because its too much compressed absurdity and tragedy to withstand rationally. According to USA Today, "Americans are dying in Iraq any number of ways, from AK-47 fire to rocket-propelled grenades, from illness and heat exhaustion to heart attacks and car accidents. Since May 1, 188 U.S. military personnel have died — 94 in combat and 94 in non-combat situations. Suicide is another category, although the Army appears reluctant to discuss it. Until last week, the Army refused to say how many troops in Iraq have committed suicide, arguing that any release of information would compromise cases under investigation." "9-11 Probe Continues To Bypass Executive Branch Testimony", says www.tomflocco.com. "Commission Has Not Compelled Three Individuals Having Most Power To Affect Immediate Action On 9-11 To Explain Their Failure To Defend America. All Three Remained In Offices And An Elementary Classroom While Four Planes Crashed. This, Despite Having 25 Minutes Advance Notice From Secret Service, Pentagon, And Air Traffic Controllers Prior To First Crash--But Also A Full Summer Of Frantic But Now Classified Briefings About 'Planes Used As Weapons To Crash Into Buildings,' Thus Permitting White House To Shield Its Prior-Knowledge." Zaki Chehab, writing in the Guardian, gives a close up look at how the perverted policies of the Bush administration are igniting passionate resistance that is forging ties between diverse sections of Iraqi society. "I first met Iraqi resistance fighters at a farm in the suburbs of Ramadi, north of Baghdad," says Chehab. "It was several months after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and on that day the people of Ramadi were gathering at a mosque to grieve the death of a young Iraqi killed by US forces. The man - unarmed, and driving a civilian car - had failed to stop at a checkpoint. There had been no signs warning him or other drivers of the danger they were approaching. I was taken aback by the strength of the anger felt by the local people - such deaths (this young man was not the first to die at the checkpoint, nor the last) were clearly galvanising local people to fight back against the occupation forces." "Adding the Internet and e-mail to traditional organizing techniques, protest groups say they are getting an early start in attracting tens of thousands of demonstrators to New York for next year's Republican convention." Newsday The Bush administration's propaganda onslaught to persuade people that the war in Iraq has been a great thing is running up against some problems, such as reality. Every day more people are killed in Iraq. The Iraqis, like most people most places, will not stand passively and let an invader and occupier control them when they so obviously have no idea what they are doing. And our young people in the armed services are the ones on the American side who are taking the brunt of it, for no good reason. See "Deaths deal their daily blows to pollyanna Bush" in smh.com.au. Bartering in Flesh -- Turks Trade Soldiers for Cash. See www.canoe.ca
October 15, 2003
Death to Liberals!
Bush is blaming that librul media for his predicament now, saying it's not telling the truth about Iraq. The media keeps reporting that people are getting killed, which gives people the entirely wrong idea about what is going on over there. Too much attention on violence, he says, not enough on nation building, that thing he said he would never do when he was running for president. Some great construction contracts for some very good Americans! (See that sweet smirker deliver his message on AOL News.) AOL ran a stupid poll that only gave voters the choice of saying they trust the media or they distrust the media and therefore trust Bush. No choice at all.
Gore's proposed network is already getting blasted. An article in Ad Age quotes an "insider" as saying "liberal media is dead on arrival. You just can't do it." Paul Rittenberg, senior vice president of advertising and market research at Fox News, said, "The problem with being associated as liberal is that they wouldn't be going in a direction that advertisers are really interested in." A good point since most advertisers are interested in attracting affluent consumers, or people who aspire to be wealthy. Such marketing relies on a world view that supports material values and enforces a need to consume endlessly. Rittenberg says, "We don't get business for being conservative, we get business because the ratings are good and we believe that we're fair." What does the fact that "we believe we are fair" have to do with it? Of course Fox doesn't market itself as "conservative" or "fascist" even though it is. And of course Gore's network wouldn't market itself as "liberal" even though "fair and balanced" Fox has already begun to slime it with that word before the network is even purchased.
"Liberal" is a lousy label now anyway. The word has been dragged through the mud so much by the frothing fascist commentators like Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and O'Reilly it's like calling yourself a child molester. Besides, liberal sounds too soft, too nice, too wimpy. And this is not time to be soft. When you are fighting fascists, you have to be hard as nails. And energetic, and resourceful. And you have to keep your sense of humor, above all, or they will drive you out of your skull.
What is a good word to take the place of "liberal"? Nothing. If you name me, you can dismiss me. Better to present a moving target. How about "freedom loving American"? Actually "democrat" is still a pretty strong concept. Those colonists in 1776 who threw off a monarchy, a vast empire at that, and established a rudimentary democracy were not wimpy. For people fighting against the fascist takeover of America, the word "liberal" isn't strong enough. Let it go, let it die. It only serves the purposes of Fox news and the like.
And in other news:
Coca Cola beats silent protestors in India. See corpwatchindia.org Bill Moyers shows how the lobbyists and Republican power players have beaten down the popular movement to push back the FCC's attempt to further consolidate the media in the hands of a few rich corporations. See Now.
October 16, 2003
News Through the Funhouse MirrorThe New York Times isn't very subtle about its likes and dislikes. Yesterday's Times ran an article on Dennis Kucinich. Usually they just ignore him, but he declared his candidacy and it was an occasion they couldn't entirely ignore. So they ran an article that made him look like an eccentric fringey character, who wouldn't have a chance of a snowball in hell of ever being president.
The paper ran a picture of him that has to be one of the most unflattering pictures it's ever run of anyone. The camera is pointed up at him, a straight shot into his nostrils. It's also a great view of the inside of his mouth, which is wide open, as are his eyes. He looks like a madman, a wild-eyed demagogue. The subhead says, "Calls for Nonviolence and Social Spending," which may not be technically inaccurate, but describes only a select part of what he stands for, removed from the context in which it makes sense.
"Let's not be violent and let's spend money on social programs" is not exactly a coherent summary of Kucinich's position. It makes him sound like a halfwit. The quantity and perversity of the violence of the Bush administration calls for a reaction, a call to end the insane conquest launched by the Bushites. Call it nonviolence, but stopping war for plunder is not quite the same kind of nonviolence, for example, as standing still while a vicious killer attacks your wife and children. There are degrees of nonviolence. Most Americans are not ready to adopt the Ghandi approach and to stand passive while being attacked. But few Americans are as bloodthirsty as the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft axis of evil.
Kucinich says we can't solve the problems of our society while we funnel such a huge portion of our tax money into military build-up and destruction. And yes, many of our problems will take money to solve. And that money is available if it can be freed up from Lockheed Martin and other military suppliers who are in solid with the administration.
Typically, the article itself is fairer than the way it appears with the photo and the subheads. As happens so often, the article undergoes a mysterious transformation between the time the reporter submits it and when it appears on the page. But there are other characterizations in the article that would appear differently in an article about a candidate the Times favored. He's described as having a "childlike smile" -- would the times ever describe Bush as having a "childlike smile"? His candidacy is a "longshot," and whose isn't at this stage of the game, except the candidate of the party that controls all branches of the government and most of the media. The following of the "underdog candidate" is not strong or devoted, but "almost cultlike."
In other news:
Governor Dean, who has been the beneficiary of a breathtakingly successful Internet campaign is suffering from a serious disconnect when he says he supports online voting. The problems of controlling electronic voting are clear enough from the loss of 4% of the votes in the recent California recall. Moving the electronic polling process to the Internet opens up many more chances for corruption of the system. In contrast, what are the risks of problems with an Internet campaign -- that someone might give too much money? These two processes are fundamentally different. Someone tech-savvy members of the Dean team need to enlighten Howard. See Detroit News.
The Iraq war is the greatest thing ever for Al Qaeda. See Reuters. According to The San Diego Channel, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, one of Gray Davis' most vocal critics on energy policy, wrote a letter to Schwarzenegger demanding that he explain his private May 2001 meeting with Enron chief-megathief Ken Lay. The organization said that if Schwarzenegger doesn't explain by inauguration time, it will push for an investigation. "A meeting with the biggest corporate crook in recent memory, while he and his firm were in the midst of ripping off the state, should not be taken lightly," FTCR wrote. "As Governor, you must explain to Californians what you were doing at that meeting, what information Ken Lay shared with you and how the meeting has influenced your thinking on energy issues." Jay Bookman dissects the lies of the current PR campaign of the Bush administration.
October 17, 2003
Buckle Up, ArnoldArnold may find politics less appealing than being a movie star. A lot of people are determined that he not coast by with all his pet Republican projects, like blocking the move to force his patrons the energy pirates to pay back the billions they stole from California or to move the state back in the direction of the privatization of the utilities that so screwed the people before.
He may wish he was back on a cushy movie set in his own private trailer with everyone waiting on him hand and foot, adoring him simply because he's so ... appealing. It will take more than a charming smile and mile-high biceps to navigate this field of vipers.
His name in lights, stardom, wealth and now power, his dreams all coming true. And a beautiful, wife, a celebrity in her own right, a successful TV personality from a powerful and charismatic family. What is her trip? The niece of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, the daughter of Sargent Shriver, who ran the Peace Corps under JFK and was McGovern's running mate when McGovern ran against Nixon on an anti-Vietnam war platform. Now she's married to an Austrian ally of Ken Lay and George W. Bush and Kurt Waldheim, who as a young bodybuilder told an interviewer he admired Hitler and that 5% of the people were born to lead and the other 95% have to be told what to do.
It seems for both of them it's about the stardom, the glamour and the attention, not really about some set of principles. Or if they have principles, we can only imagine what they are given the company Arnold keeps and the bare minimum of political history we have from which to judge him.
Family History -- The New Hampshire Gazette tells the story that has seen far too little attention in the mainstream press, so much so that most Americans may not know that GW Bush's grandfather Prescott and great grandfather George Herbert Walker ran a Nazi front bank in New York even after the U.S. had declared war on Germany. Clinton said he warned Bush that Osama bin Laden was the biggest security issue for America. Bush said it was Iraq and national missile defense. See Reuters. According to the Washington Post, "A broad survey of U.S. troops in Iraq by a Pentagon-funded newspaper found that half of those questioned described their unit's morale as low and their training as insufficient, and said they do not plan to reenlist." See Scoop for "US Soldiers to America: 'Bring us home now; we’re dying for oil and corporate greed!'" First in a five-part series.
SATURDAY NEWS WATCH
October 18, 2003
Republican Family Values -- Here's a reality adjuster: According to the New York Times, "The crack-addicted prostitute who repeatedly took her daughter and niece to Philip A. Giordano for sexual encounters while he was mayor of Waterbury was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison. The prostitute, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the children, who were 8 and 10 at the time, pleaded guilty last fall to conspiracy and other charges that exposed her to a 20-year prison sentence in federal court. But because of her "significant" cooperation — testifying at Mr. Giordano's trial — federal prosecutors argued on Friday that she deserved leniency, and the judge agreed." Four more Americans killed in another bloody day in Iraq -- See San Jose Mercury, Boston Globe and USA Today. The number keeps pushing higher, 101 since Bush "proclaimed an end ... bla bla bla...", 336 in all since the invasion started in March. In a noble gesture of putting his life on the line to protect the Leader of Free World, a mouse will act as George Bush's official taster in Thailand to thwart any attempts at bio-chemical assassination. According to the Guardian, "A humble mouse is to put its life on a plate for US president George Bush this weekend - acting as his official food taster to thwart any attempt at a bio-chemical assasination. The rodent is one of 10 selected by the authorities in Thailand, where Mr Bush is starting a four-day visit today, and will be served samples of food which the president will eat." Nobel laureate in economics George Akerlof calls Bush's tax cuts "a form of looting." See Paul Krugman. Professor Akerlof (winner of the Nobel prize in economics) told the German publication Spiegel, "I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign and economic but also in social and environmental policy. This is not normal government policy. Now is the time for people to engage in civil disobedience." Asked by the interviewer what kind of civil disobedience, Akerlof answered, "I don't know yet. But I think it's time to protest - as much as possible." Here's a new site that analyzes the attack on the Pentagon, and how it can't have happened according to official explanation. 911 Research.
SUNDAY BLUES AND NEWS
October 19, 2003
John Dean, who first warned his then-boss Richard Nixon that the Watergate scandal was "a cancer on the presidency", says the scandal growing from the criminal revelation of a CIA agent's identity is "a nasty subcutaneous problem - an ugly little sore that is festering and spreading." He goes on to say, "It is too soon to know if this mess is malignant. Or terminal. Yet, this I do know: If mistreated, or untreated, this growing problem is going to become lethal for the Bush presidency. This is the Administration's first serious political scandal, and it is replete with legal problems and criminal implications." This is also a good summary of the events of this incident and their legal implications. The long-suppressed story about Bush's grandfather Prescott being a director of a Nazi bank has moved into the mainstream so far with the recent release of some classified documents that it has even appeared on FOX News. The part of the story that Fox tells makes it about as innocent as it could be made, but it's still pretty interesting. Prescott didn't actually participate in any Nazi firing squads, after all. More on Prescott "Hitler's Angel" Bush at Bartcop.com. More on the "Fascist Fraternity" that included Americans who sympathized with and did business with the Nazis at Indymedia.org. Boston Globe: "At at time when President Bush ought to be doing everything he can to show that he is an engaged commander in chief, he is acting as though there is nothing he can or should do to discover and punish the officials who leaked to columnist Robert Novak the identity of the CIA's Valerie Plame Wilson. Bush's passivity in response to a political dirty trick that harms US intelligence operations and demoralizes intelligence officers is an abdication of responsibility." Now that Republicans have decided it's okay for actors to be involved in politics again, Ben Affleck attacked Bush's "dangerous right-wing" policies and compared "the dawn of the Schwarzenegger era in American politics" to the Roman empire's decline." See BBC. Gambler Bill "Where's-the-Outrage?" Bennett's silence on the sexual predation of Schwarzenegger. See Slate Texas Observer: "Bush's Hit Man: Karl Rove wins . . . by any means necessary" Teetotaler George, who claims to have stopped drinking when he became devoted to the Prince of Peace, sometimes breaks the rule. See Yahoo. Close-up view of the Bolivia uprising at Indymedia.org.
October 21, 2003
Terrorist Ariel Sharon launched another air attack on Palestine, this time killing 10 Palestinians and wounding 70 more. See Knight Ridder. Washington Post columnist William Raspberry asks if Bush Inc. is a monkey with its fist in the trap of Iraq, unwilling to let go even if it kills him. In a perfect fascist state, people say, "Don't say nothin' bad about our leaders," even if it's true and relevant. See Guardian. "[Californians] have now put into office a man who hobnobbed with the very oil thieves (like former ENRON CEO Ken Lay) who stole billions from the state to help get Californians into the current mess," says Saul Landau in Counterpunch. "Once again, rich Republicans figured out a way to screw the poor and manipulate them into voting for it." Blair canceled the parade Bush was going to be in because of the probability of seriously intense demonstrations. (See Daily Telegraph.) Does Bush -- who doesn't read the papers -- even know how much people hate him? Blair, under intense pressure and incapable of the kind of clueless bliss of village idiot Bush, is showing the strain. On Sunday he was admitted to hospital for heart palpitations. AP. For Bush it's 1968 all over again. P.M. Carpenter on Buzzflash. Ricky Lee Jones new album goes after Bush. "I hope it wakes people up," she says. "You know, people in America are afraid to say anything; they are afraid of George Bush, afraid of the police, afraid of being fined, afraid of being accused. I feel I'm in the right place and right time spiritually to stand up, and say, 'But you don't have any clothes on'." You heard it in The Guardian. Bush Hating -- Quoted in the Washington Post, Jonathan Chait says, "My sister-in-law describes Bush's existence as an oppressive force, a constant weight on her shoulder, just knowing that George Bush is president."
October 23, 2003
The Washington Post reports that Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator from Nebraska that used to be one of the owners of the voting machine company whose machines gave him 85% of the vote in districts that had never in history voted Republican, now says of Bush: "We probably have given this president more flexibility, more latitude, more range, unquestioned, than any president since Franklin Roosevelt -- probably too much. The Congress, in my opinion, really abrogated much of its responsibility." Time for Congress to hold Bush accountable for leading the country to war based on lies. sunspot.net. According to SFGate, "a recent survey conducted by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes found that half of the troops described their unit's morale as low and a third complained that their mission had little or no value. Many viewed themselves as sitting ducks, rather than soldiers engaged in war." Sarasota, Florida, became the latest city to pass a resolution refusing to cooperate with the Patriot Act. What's to be done about the 15 women who said Arnold Scharzenegger sexually assaulted them? Alternet. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will host a "Symposium on Building Trust and Confidence in Voting Systems" on December 10-11, 2003. See NIST Maryland Democrats are pushing for an independent audit of the voting machines. See the Washington Post. Daniel Ellsberg said. "Could Bush possibly think of allowing an attack to a place that could kill Americans? I worked for a president, Lyndon Johnson, who consciously put destroyers in harm's way to get us into war... I can't say that Bush is not capable of doing what Lyndon Johnson was capable of doing." Commondreams Some soldiers who are going home on leave are not returning to Iraq. The Washington Post