August 2, 2003
Goodbye Cruel WorldAll praise to the gods of Friday night, that temporary relief from the insane, self-flagellating working world of this strange, pathologically competitive and greedy corporate system. Ah, for a few hours of letting loose without having to think of getting up tomorrow and selling your mind and self respect to the man!
Just look at the way Americans work? Americans who imagine themselves to be middle class work like slaves. And much of it isn't even productive work in any tangible sense. It's pushing paper and electronic data around and observing an elaborate rules system and hierarchical structure of authority. It seems like the most important function of all this rigamarole is just to keep people quiet and under control.
It isn't worth doing.
To maintain a system that has outlived its usefulness, even its sanity. This country is insane. Look at what is going on with Iraq. Do I even have to support the point? Are not these truths self evident?
The old world is dying. A new one will grow up in the ruins. It is up to each person to stake out his own personal space in the social continuum and do his part to create the new world, a world that will no longer reflect the vision of toxic, destructive people.
It is time for fundamental change. The peace movement became exhausted and disoriented when the situation changed in Iraq. The peace marches didn't stop the war. It is time to change strategy. It is time to go on the attack.
Many people have gotten the message, and a sense of activism is stirring. There is a rising commitment to oppose the insanity of the Wild Bunch in the White House. The country is coming out of hiding. But even though many principles from the past are always true, the activism of today cannot be knee-jerk behavior carried over from the past.
The old guard, the guardians of this dying world must be overthrown. This will not be done by rigid adherence to any doctrine. The old guard can be rigid, it has much to squander, much in stolen goods.
But we who want to build a more humane, more democratic world cannot indulge in self destructive behavior. Dying for the cause is not good enough. You have to be here to do your part.
Revolution is anything you can get away with, Abbie Hoffman said. It's no good being a martyr trying to go up against these clowns head to head. Better to use our smarts and our economic and democratic clout to dismantle the corrupt, rotten system and get back to Constitutional government, at least a rough approximation. This one isn't even an attempt.
We must be adaptable, creative. Like guerrillas we must strike and withdraw to fight another day.
I saw a letter in a travel trade publication complaining bitterly about a reporter who had dared to write that the French were actually very nice to him when he visited, as if nothing was wrong (!) The letter snarled, "That article was just a cheap apology. They didn't want to stand up with us, but they want our money. George W. Bush is my president and anyone who insults him insults me and all Americans."
Whoa! Hold on there, boy. Come back to earth! What are you getting so excited about? Were you there? In Irag, fighting on the desert, watching your buddies getting picked off one by one while your bogus president keeps changing the reason he sent you there, and the amount of time you have to stay? I don't hear a lot of enthusiasm for this war over there, friend. If you are so gung-ho, you would be a good candidate for that war, because those who are there now would like to come home.
This irate letter was written by a reader of a travel industry publication, probably a travel agent, with some experience of traveling, presumably a little more worldly than the average American. And still he was totally caught up in that ridiculous Fox News reality. You can always tell when someone starts to get all bent out of shape about France, and not about the hundreds of other countries that opposed that war, that that person gets his or her political world view primarily from television.
Even if this model American is in total support of every word and deed of his leader, he must know that insulting George W. Bush is NOT an insult to every American.
All this insane rage focused on France -- there is no logic to it. Why shouldn't it be the same for Germany, Russia, China, etc. etc....? The choice of France is arbitrary.
But it's the spin of the big networks. So people who get all keyed up about France reveal themselves instantly as members of that strange cult who get their entire world view from American television.
They are strangely disassociated with the basic reality of war. They are seeing fantasies, Star Wars scenarios instead of all the bloodshed and human misery. They are utterly hornswaggled by these con men in the White House.
Things must change. The movement for justice and peace must find new ways to function. The new world will come when people declare their independence and walk away from the rotting structures of the corporate world. Eventually it will fall of its own weight.
August 4, 2003
A survey in Britain shows more people trust BBC than Blair, 59 to 41. See the Financial Times. And to make matters worse for Blair, "Britain's top spymaster has decided to retire early, dealing a damaging new blow to the Government's credibility over its presentation of intelligence on Iraq," according to the Observer. Blair is taking a pummeling, Bush isn't. What's the difference? asks Robert Reich, secretary of labor under Bill Clinton, writing in the Observer. Tom Shields in the Sunday Herald, says the futures market in terrorism confirms his fear that the lunatics have taken over the asylum in America. Sine the British government is a footsoldier to the plans coming out of Washington, Shields is very concerned what it all means to the now-disgraced Labour Party. Jim Lobe, writing on Dawn, says Bush is in for a difficult autumn. An interesting analysis with some behind-the-scenes insights. Robert Fisk gives a close up of the tragedy now unfolding in Iraq. See Counterpunch. Hilary Clinton said the Supreme Court still faces distrust because of "legally dubious" decisions, such as Bush Vs. Gore. See the Guardian. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy nails it: "The problem is more than the fact that Admiral Poindexter was put in charge of these projects. The problem is that these projects were just fine with the Administration until the public found out about them. When Members of Congress pointed out these excesses -- from plans to electronically monitor all Americans, to a futures market for betting on when the next Americans or others would be killed in terrorist attacks – these ventures could not stand the scrutiny. The lesson seems to be that you can do whatever you want quietly, so long as it doesn’t become a public embarrassment. That is why the Administration still has a problem as far as the privacy rights of Americans are concerned, and simply removing Adm. Poindexter doesn’t fix that."
August 5, 2003
PossibilitiesJeff: I don't know. I just can't believe it. I just can't get my mind around the idea that Bush and Cheney would bomb the World Trade Center. My heart won't believe it. I just can't believe that any president would attack his own people. If I were to believe that, I would have to pour my brain out on the floor and pick it up piece by piece and put it together again in a new way.
Mutt: Well, that's reality. That's the kind of times we live in. The impossible happens, and you have to accommodate it. What is unbelievable is that the bombing happened at all. But it did. So we have to stretch our minds around that. We have no choice. It happened and we know it did. That itself is unbelievable. Given that it happened, someone had to have done it. Someone had to be that evil. And that sophisticated. It was an amazingly sophisticated operation. Maybe Osama bin Laden did do it from his caves in Afghanistan -- but obviously someone did it. Someone was that evil. Having accepted that, I don't have any reason to think that Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc. would not be capable of being that evil. There is nothing to show me otherwise.
The papers of the Project for a New Century, the Cheney/Wolfowitz neo conservative vision of US empire, explicitly state that the reordering of the world could probably not happen without a Pearl Harbor-like incident. It's not at all hard to believe that they would set it up, or at least let down their defenses and allow it.
He's not "a president". He's George W. Bush. Just getting that title doesn't make you a good guy. Look at how he got to be president? Hitler was once an elected official. What precedent was there for him to behave the way he did?
Jeff: Well, you're right, when they stole the election in 2000, I thought that was something that could never happen here. It was already unbelievable to me. But it's still very hard to believe that Bush would bomb his own country.
Mutt: Well, I don't know if he did. I can't say for sure what did happen. In any kind of operation that sophisticated -- no matter who did it -- there is going to be a lot of misinformation spread around, a lot of fake stories circulated to throw people off track.
In a situation like this, there are so many possibilities floating around, you can never be sure that the information you get is not somehow tinged or manipulated, or just false. So to maintain your sanity, you have to reserve judgment on most things you hear, except the few things you have some tangible experience with.
You hear a lot of crazy stories, but one thing that is pretty tangible to me is that it was 35 minutes between the second World Trade Center hit and the attack on the Pentagon. That's pretty simple and direct information. You can look it up, it was about 35 minutes between the time the second plane hit the World Trade Center -- and practically everyone in the United States knew it was an attack -- and when the Pentagon was hit.
Four airlines had been hijacked, the last of them had left Washington D.C. and turned backwards toward Washington somewhere out in the midwest about the time of the second Trade Center hit. The entire airline industry was grounded. There was nothing in the sky but this plane heading for Washington. And still, there was not a finger lifted to defend Washington. Not a plane in the sky, in all that time.
There is no way that fact can stand up to scrutiny without it becoming evident that it would be virtually impossible for Washington D.C., the most restricted, protected air space in America, the capital, the head of the military, to be completely undefended for such a long period of time, especially after it was clear that an attack was taking place.
There was something like an hour and a half since the first of four hijacked planes became known to the Federal Aviation Agency. And the capital, the White House, the Pentagon, were utterly unprotected. The skies were clear.
There are many layers of protocol for the defense of the United States against attack, especially an attack on the capital. Andrews air base is only minutes away for a fighter. There is no way the U.S. could ever be that off-guard for that long, unless normal, automatic protocols were actively taken out of operation. Someone on a very high level had to issue a stand down order.
Just as the single bullet theory was the sine qua non of the Warren Commission story of who killed Kennedy, that 35 minutes is the sine qua non of the government's version of events on September 11, 2001. It cannot stand up to logical examination. And without it, the government's case falls. It was impossible for the country to be that defenseless that day unless someone on a very high level was manipulating the situation and allowing an attack to get through.
That doesn't necessarily mean Bush and his gang knew what was happening at that moment. If they had been forewarned that it was going to happen at that time, one would think would have handled it better. Bush sat in that classroom for a half hour or so after he heard about the second hit, acting like nothing had happened, reading to kids, as if he was waiting for his next order, utterly clueless. Then they all went up into Air Force One and flew around the country, to places like Nebraska, running like scared rabbits. If they'd been really in on it, surely they would have stagemanaged it better. This administration is 100% about PR.
But Bush is just a face, an amiable dunce. He doesn't have to know that much. I don't know if Bush knew about it or not, but it's not because I don't think he was capable of such treachery. When I hear you talk about it, it sounds like you just can't bring yourself to think that "a president" would do such a thing. I have no problem with that at all. It's the event itself that is unbelievable. Once I have assimilated that, the thought that Bush and the gang would be too kind to allow such an atrocity does not give me pause. At all.
August 5, 2003
See Bev Harris at blackboxvoting.org for the latest news about the voting machine scandal: "According to an Aug. 4 article in Wired.com: Diebold company spokesman Mike Jacobsen 'confirmed that the source code Rubin's team examined was last used in November 2002 general elections in Georgia, Maryland and in counties in California and Kansas.'"
August 6, 2003
Count 'emAccording to the Guardian, "US military casualties from the occupation of Iraq have been more than twice the number most Americans have been led to believe because of an extraordinarily high number of accidents, suicides and other non-combat deaths in the ranks that have gone largely unreported in the media." Though the reported number of deaths of American soldiers since Bush's proclamation that the war was over is 52, that only counts those who have been killed by hostile fire. But the total number of US deaths from all causes since that date is 112.
"How many Americans will die for oil?" asks The Age. Closing in on Saddam -- it's a distraction. See (again) The Age Howard Dean on the Bush Machine: "They'll say anything, and 96 percent of it won't be true. They're the meanest-spirited people." See excerpts from an interview on MSNBC. Dean pushed Gephardt out of first place in an Iowa poll, meaning he might win the Iowa straw poll, which is recognized as the first official Democratic party selection process of the primary season, preceding the New Hampshire. Dean's beating out Gephardt in Iowa makes Kerry nervous. Dean is a much bigger threat to Kerry than Gephardt. So watch for Kerry to do something to bolster Gephardt. desmoinesregister.com One thing the report of the greatly suppressed congressional investigation of 911 shows was that there were many warnings, which leads to the question: Why did Condi Rice and Big Dick Cheney both say no one had ever even thought of planes flying into buildings before? See villagevoice.com. Bush's aversion to telling the truth. The American Prospect.
August 7, 2003
On the anniversary of the bomb dropping, the mayor of Hiroshima had some heavy words for Bush: "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse. The chief cause is US nuclear policy that, by openly declaring the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear first strike and calling for resumed research into mini-nukes and other so-called 'useable nuclear weapons,' appears to worship nuclear weapons as God." See Common Dreams. Buzzflash put together an archive of articles that shed light on the Bush administration assertion that it had no warning about 911. Despair takes hold. Soldier suicides in Iraq. See The Mirror.
AND IN OTHER NEWS...
August 8, 2003Al Gore's speech to MoveOn is amazing, when you consider that this man could and should have been president. What would America be like if this man were in control instead of Bozo? You never miss your water till the well runs dry.
I never bought any of that garbage about Gore not being "likeable" or him being "stiff" or "nurdy" or any of that. Who cares? What does any of it even mean? It's like playground sass. The important thing was and is that if Gore were president we wouldn't be in this fix. And it's one hell of a fix.
Check out a man -- a former presidential candidate, former vice president, senator, not necessarily a guy you want to drink beer with if you're a frat rat CEO. But a guy who can talk in coherent English and address the issues that are really on people's minds, instead of all that phony patriotic mumbo jumbo.
Read this speech. Gore is at an interesting historical precipice. His position is unprecedented. He is maintaining some dignity and some sense that he is concerned with the principal and the cause, not just about Al Gore's political career.
Schwarznegger for Governor? Schwarznegger, right, yes of course. Smart guy. Pretty good action movie actor, hell of a body! But governor of California? Did I wake up in a Teen People magazine. What is happening? Is there really a chance that Arnold Schwarznegger could be governor of California? What is his platform? What are his views? What has he ever done besides act in movies and make millions of dollars? That's very impressive stuff, but what does he even have to do with government? Has he ever said a word about politics? I seem to remember him saying something once a few years ago. It was very Austrian, very Kurt Waldheim. Not surprising to come for an Austrian, muscleman turned actor. But Governor? Surely the Californians are not going to fall for this one! See stopschwarzenegger.com, EightBall Magazine Poindexter's history makes it not surprising that he set up a market for betting on the likelihood of terrorism. Check out a good review of the history in the Guardian. In "Playing Politics with 911" the Berkshire Eagle says, "While Attorney General John Ashcroft scares Americans with vague warnings about pending terrorist attacks by al-Qaida, the White House and related departments continue to stonewall efforts to reveal the events that led up to al-Qaida's infamous attacks on American soil nearly two years ago. America cannot fully prepare for what may come next unless it fully understands what came before, and it is up to the Senate to continue to aggressively pressure the federal bureaucracy to reveal all it knows, regardless of who may be embarrassed."
August 8, 2003
Bush NostalgiaIsn't it wonderful to be back in the Bush days? Remember them in the late '80s and early '90s when the economy sucked, the country seemed adrift, Clueless George was examining milk jugs in grocery stores and puking in the laps of foreign dignitaries?
We had a phony Gulf War based on a double cross of Bush to his old ally Saddam Hussein. Their eyes were on Iraq then but they couldn't quite go through with it. Bermuda shorts George got nervous about getting impeached and got the hell out of Iraq as fast as he could, after setting up the Kurds to rebel against Saddam and then standing aside while they were butchered.
The Bush days were gloomy, depressing. America was in a funk.
It was such a relief when he was gone. For eight years he was gone. There was the grim-faced Bob Dole bringing the obligatory gloom into the scene, but he looks positively sweet in comparison with the Republicans who came after him. Beginning with that smiling cute teddy bear Newt Gingrich, who was a mako shark under that baby face. Then came hitman Ken Starr and the impeachment mob and the Republican Revolution was in full swing.
Then on the western horizon there appeared a son, the son of a Bush, looking like a squashed down version of his old man, with his phony Texas swagger honed to perfection. A false campaign about the brand name Compassionate Conservative, a fixed election in Florida, some friends in high places and Shazam! Bush Two.
Now we're back to that little hell, only its worse now. It's progressed. Now all the facistic dreams of Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush are all being brought to fruition under Bush the Son. The final turning over of the entire government and the major resources of the country to a crony group of rich industrialists. It's Mussolini's and Hitler's vision too.
The country is coming apart at the seams. The economy is completely out of whack, the treasury was drained for the cronies and we're running the greatest deficits in history after Clinton cleaned up the Reagan-Bush deficits and even created a surplus.
It's incredible to me how asleep Americans are to let this catastrophe take place, like a slow motion nuclear explosion in the middle of everything America has built or aspired to. Americans behave like a dying culture, like people who refuse to take cognizance of what is happening right in front of them.
Like white rats in cages they repetitiously push the levers that give them the desired narcotics and exist in an imaginary world that goes nowhere, that starts over in the same place every morning, as if nothing had happened. But things are happening, the US is decaying. It has allowed itself to be infested by carnivorous parasites. Americans, wake up! Before you go the way of the dinosaur and the dodo.
It's time for the people to flex their muscle once again. It happens periodically in history. Now it's back. History
August 9, 2003
Squabbles Among the Greedy. Now Bechtel, one of the big insider companies in the Reagan-Bush clique, is upset because Halliburton is getting all the money for "rebuilding" Iraq. Poor Bechtel! To have to stand on the sidelines when they were so close to cashing in! Makes you want to cry. (See New York Times.) George Schultz, Secretary of State under Reagan, was formerly president of Bechtel. Bechtel also employs Caspar Weinberger, Reagan's Secretary of Defense, convicted of crimes in the Iran Contra affair and later pardoned by Bush I. Schultz also chaired the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which lobbied and campaigned heavily for the invasion. Now they are losing what they see as their share of the payoff to Dick Cheney's former employer Halliburton. See also "Bush, Bin Laden, Bechtel and Baghdad" on Counterpunch Billionaire George Soros is putting up $10 million, a mere pittance for him, to defeat Bush. Soros said, "The fate of the world depends on the United States, and President Bush is leading us in the wrong direction. ACT [a political action committee called America Coming Together] is an effective way to mobilize civil society, to convince people to go to the polls and vote for candidates who will reassert the values of the greatest open society in the world." See Earthlink. Bush: Money Versus Mouth. The Bush credibility gap shows the difference between what Bush proclaims and his real policies. John David Rose of the Carolina Morning News says what most newspapers won't dare to print. "If you want to know why 9/11 was allowed to happen you may not have to look any further than the Oval Office. A little more than a month before the attack, in his Aug. 6 daily intelligence briefing, Bush was 'told that morning of the al-Qaida terror network's interest in conducting a strike within the U.S., and that it might involve highjacked airplanes,' reports the Wall Street Journal (7/24/03.) Why didn't he order airlines to be alerted, inform the Federal Aviation Administration of the threat, put the military air commands on a high level of readiness and tell the FBI, CIA and INS to be super vigilant? He brushed the warning aside." Then farther down: "PNAC, Project for the New American Century, was organized in 1997 by Zionist neo-cons Robert Kagen and William Kristol. It is funded by three foundations closely tied to Persian Gulf oil and the weapons and defense industries. Members of PNAC included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and Paul Wolfowitz, a director of the organization ... Here's the chilling kicker: To convince the American people to spend extra billions for defense instead of on Social Security, Medicare, etc., PNAC suggested it would take a "catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." (PNAC's exact words.)" According to the Boston Globe, as reported on Charleson.net, the Pentagon's DARPA, which gave us the terrorism futures market, is now working on a mind reading machine. A "$24 million enterprise called Brain Machine Interfaces is developing technology that promises to directly read thoughts from a living brain -- and even instill thoughts as well."
Sunday, August 9, 2003
Former Pentagon Official Calls Down the Administration -- Air Force Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski, a former a senior Pentagon Middle East specialist who worked in the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith until her retirement in April of this year, published an article in which she said, "What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense." She also said, "I suggested to my boss that if this was as good as it got, some folks on the Pentagon's E-ring may be sitting beside Saddam Hussein in the war crimes tribunals." See Democracy Now. The Re-Emergence of Cynthia McKinney -- Not that she ever went away, but events are leading attention back to issues she raised long ago when we were not yet in the mess we're in now, but the thugs were setting it up and Cynthia was one of the very few elected officials willing to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes. For speaking the truth boldly and asking the hard questions, she was given the full power of America's big character assassination guns. She was called a looney by Republicans and Democrats alike. Few had the guts to stand up for her, or to ask the same inescapable questions. In a speech at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, posted on fromthewilderness.com, McKinney returned to those issues with the authority of one hose warnings are becoming more verified by events every day. She said, "They wrote that in their COINTELPRO papers; about how they would keep blacks separated from each other, and separated from Africans, and separated from other people of color, and most importantly, separated from progressive activist whites. They wrote that they would discredit black activists so they would lose favor within their community and within our American community. They also wrote that they would replace authentic black leaders with what they called 'clean Negroes' whom they had groomed to be more loyal to them than to us. Those aren't my words, they're their words. Well, they were silly enough to write it down, and we were smart enough to read it. So we're not fooled." She went on to say, "I, for one, can say that I am tired of burying innocent black and Latino people who die at the hands of this unjust system. New Yorkers have buried too many loved ones and shed too many tears." This is a great speech and McKinney is an uncommon politician. There is someone I could support for president. We could have our first black and our first female president at the same time. Enough of these pathological white men running civilization into the ditch! And furthermore, McKinney said, "I'm wondering where are the no-knock warrants for the Carlyle Group, Enron, DynCorp, Halliburton, Worldcom, HealthSouth, all the off-shore companies that fled our country to avoid paying taxes yet continue to get billions in federal contracts?" Yes! According to Reuters, Scharznegger is ahead in the polls in California! And of course Bush is behind him. The perfect Aryan Superman. Oh God, California, have you gone crazy?
August 10, 2003
Emmanuel Todd, a French historian who predicted the fall of the Soviet empire in a 1976 book, predicts something similar for the U.S. "There will be no American Empire," says Todd. "The world is too large and dynamic to be controlled by one power." The U.S. has given up its leadership in industrial production, Todd says, the real source of world power. "[U.S.] industrial capacity is clearly smaller than that of Europe and approximately equal to that of Japan," Todd says. "With twice the population, this is no great accomplishment. Their trade deficit meanwhile, is in the order of $500 billion per year. Their military potential is nevertheless still the largest by far, but is declining and consistently over estimated ... . The theatrical military activism against inconsequential rogue states that we are currently witnessing plays out against this backdrop. It is a sign of weakness, not of strength." In the core industrial economy, the U.S. is no longer a leader. It is losing in many areas it formerly led in. It is running huge trade deficits. It's economic power is being squandered at a greater rate now under Bush than before. These factors, Todd says, are much more important than a victory in a war against Iraq. See the interviews at Information Clearing House. As frazzled nerves continue to wind tighter and tighter, U.S. soldiers are getting jittery trigger fingers, killing innocent Iraqis and the hellish situation continues to degenerate. See the Guardian. A Madison Capital Times editorial said Gore's recent speech was "a masterful dissection of what ails America" and makes it "easy to understand why more Americans chose Al Gore than George W. Bush to be their president in 2000. And why they might choose Gore again in 2004." Looks like Rush Limbaugh doesn't dig Arnold Schwarzenegger, because, Rush says, "his own words prove he's not a conservative." There ya go. Rush said it. On the Department of Defense news site, there is an interview with Donald Rumsfeld by Parade Magazine. If you do a search on the text for the word "missile" you will find that Rumsfeld uses the word to refer to what attacked "this building", The Pentagon. It's an interesting choice of words, considering that it was a missile that hit the Pentagon, not a hijacked plane. For some interesting speculation and evidence on this question, see "American Airlines Flight 77?". The German Spiegel interviewed George A. Akerlof, co-winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, and he said, "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." Of course it doesn't take a Nobel laureate economist to point out that the Bush administration is bankrupting the United States. A little basic arithmetic is all that's required. The interviewer asks if the government is just bad at counting, and Akerlof says, "There is a systematic reason. The government is not really telling the truth to the American people. Past administrations from the time of Alexander Hamilton have on the average run responsible budgetary policies. What we have here is a form of looting." The money that is now being stolen by Bush and cronies from the future resources of America will destroy the social services, like Social Security and Medicare, that a majority of Americans depend on in their late years. Akerlof: "The money that is going overwhelmingly to the wealthy is going to be paid by cutting services for the elderly." The White House and Arnold. See Buzzflash. Michael Irving, the creator of the world-action.co.uk website says he fears for his life. For more information, click here.