October 1, 2003AOL is running a poll on Bush and the economy. It's titled with a ludicrous headline: "Can Bush Save the Economy?" What a laugh. Bush doesn't have the faintest idea about what to do about an economy. He barely knows the word. He's trying to learn how to pronounce it now under the tutelage of Karl Rove. He may come up with a policy soon. It will probably be like his "war on terr", maybe a "war on the conome".
AOL polls usually reflect a pretty conservative, well-indoctrinated crowd. It's the same demographic that barely knows the difference between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. But lately they don't look so good for the Bushman. Here are the current results of the poll as of 9:20 p.m. EST.
How do you feel about the economy?
Bad -- I don't see signs of recovery 57%
So-so -- it's still tough, but turning around 26%
Good -- things are improving 16%
How confident are you Bush can revive the economy?
Not at all 62%
Total Votes: 128,876
Arianna Huffington is withdrawing from the California governor's race "so that I can devote all my time and energy in the remaining week to defeating the recall -- and to defeating the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Pete Wilson forces that are trying to use the recall to hijack our state." Mohammed Daud Miraki PhD, MA, MA says, "The devastating conditions, from which Afghans die daily, are numerous to chronicle in these few passages. However, since the first day of bombing, October 07, 2001, Afghans have become victims of many weapons for which American taxpayers paid. The worst of the arsenals used is uranium and depleted uranium, which have littered fertile terrain, barren deserts and mountain ranges alike. The American taxpayers paid over $14 billion to bring about this devastation upon the poorest nation on earth. You, the taxpayers of this country, have turned the terrible living conditions into unendurable disaster. As if this was not enough, additional $10 billion is allocated for military operations there." According to thedailyenron.com, the Justice Department is about to launch a "probe" into who leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame, wife of former State Department envoy Joseph Wilson. In a classic non-denial denial, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said "Iíve known Karl for a long time, and I didnít even need to go ask Karl, because I know the kind of person that he is, and he is someone that is committed to the highest standards of conduct." No one can come back and call him a liar when the truth finally comes out, if it does. The Associated Press reports that the FBI is looking into the matter. "Democrats demanded the appointment of a special outside counsel but Bush resisted," the article said. Bush is quoted as saying, "I'm absolutely confident that the Justice Department can do a good job." Can? Yes, maybe they can. But that doesn't mean they will. According to the Houston Chronicle, Bush buddy and megathief Ken Lay has been subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for papers relating to several massive frauds the SEC thinks Lay had personal knowledge of. Lay is asserting his Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate himself. The SEC countered that "It is well settled that a corporation has no Fifth Amendment rights and an individual cannot resist the production of corporate records based on the Fifth Amendment, even where the records might tend to incriminate the individual personally." Mission Not Accomplished -- A Time Special Report looks into "the errors and bad guesses, before and after the war, that got the Bush Administration into this spot". Quote: "'It reminds me of Vietnam,' says retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, who headed the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. 'Here we have some strategic thinkers who have long wanted to invade Iraq. They saw an opportunity, and they used the imminence of the threat and the association with terrorism and the 9/11 emotions as a catalyst and justification. It's another Gulf of Tonkin.'"
October 2, 2003
Voting Machine Corruption Scandal Spreads -- According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has replaced a firm slated to help conduct the security review of Ohio's newly certified voting machines - after his office discovered that the firm had a financial interest in one of the machine makers." Bev Harris' book on Black Box Voting is out. The first two chapters can be downloaded on line, with more to follow. Corrupt voting machines are the easiest way to "disappear the Republic" at the touch of a button. See Counterpunch. Vietnam Revisited -- Max Cleland, the Vietnam vet Georgia senator pushed out of office by slander against his patriotism and faulty Diebold voting machines, draws haunting comparisons between Lyndon Johnson's catastrophic arrogance and foolishness in enmiring the U.S. in a war in Vietnam, and W's similar behavior today. See Truthout How it all unravels -- This time the sleazy, vicious behind-the-scenes manipulator Karl Rove may have gone too far. So used to being able to get away with any lie, any character assassination, Rove has apparently now crossed a clear line from slander to commission of a serious crime. Better go overseas for this report: see The Guardian House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calls for independent investigation into the White House leak that revealed the identity of a CIA agent, who happened to be the wife of an ambassador who called the administration on its fraudulent use of discredited intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq. See Truthout. Worse Than Watergate -- Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie admitted on "Hardball" that the revealing of the identity of a CIA agent would be worse than Watergate. See Media Whores Online. The phony "rebuilding" of Iraq is little more than a spoils system bonanza for Bush's greedy friends. Paul Krugman writes, "Cronyism is an important factor in our Iraqi debacle. It's not just that reconstruction is much more expensive than it should be. The really important thing is that cronyism is warping policy: by treating contracts as prizes to be handed to their friends, administration officials are delaying Iraq's recovery, with potentially catastrophic consequences." The cronyism is blatant, contracts are handed out under a system tightly controlled by the Bush clique with no checks and balances from Congress. See New York Times. Pants on Fire -- Click here to contribute to the creation of a statue of Bush the liar with his pants of fire that will be driven around the country as part of a campaign to tell the truth about the lies.
October 3, 2003
Gropers, Slanderers, Hypocrites and other Republicans
Arnold: All the Girls I've Groped Before -- LA Times and more LA Times Arnold apologizes for bad behavior. "Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right, which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I offended people," he said, according to ABC He also said he can't remember telling an interviewer he admired Hitler, as reported by New York Times and ABC. Scooter Libby named as one who told the name of the CIA agent. Antiwar.com Outrage of a Republican, former CIA agent and donor to Bush. "It sickens me to be a Republican to see this." PBS Poll: Americans want a special prosecutor 69%-29%. Washington Post Sign a petition for a special prosecutor at MoveOn.org Rove was a paid consultant to Ashcroft. New York Times Rove on the attack. NY Times Rush Limbaugh: Drug Addict NY Daily News Sign a petition for a special prosecutor at MoveOn.org
October 4, 2003
March on Washington October 25 to demand to end the occupation and bring the troops home alive. InternationalANSWER.org Gene Lyons to Bush: "Quit while you're ahead. History News Network. According to the New York Times, "Most Americans now believe the Iraq war was not worth it, according to CBS News/New York Times poll released on Thursday which showed a sharp fall in public confidence in Bush's ability to handle foreign and economic policy issues. The poll found new lows for Bush's foreign policy performance, which garnered just a 44% approval rating. Among respondents, 50% lacked confidence in his ability to handle an international crisis and 53% said they now believed the Iraq war was not worth it. Bush's overall job approval rating was just above 50%, almost back to the level before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and down sharply from his 89% approval rating after the attacks ... Just over a year before the Nov. 2004 election, a solid majority, 56%, of Americans thought the country was seriously on the wrong track ... Eyeing the presidential election, voters were split 44% to 44% between Bush and an unnamed Democratic opponent." Al Gore may be "close to striking a deal" to buy a small cable network now owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal, says the NY Daily News By now you must have heard that a new government report shows no banned weapons in Iraq. Again. Still. See Yahoo General Wesley Clark called for an independent probe of the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the Iraq war, calling it "twisted" and possibly criminal. Yahoo According to the RapidCityJournal.com, "Sens. Daschle, John Rockefeller, D-W. Va., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., ask the White House to do these things: Produce a list of all officials with access to the identity of CIA operatives; Insist every senior staffer sign a statement saying he or she did not leak the name of the CIA agent; Assign a senior White House attorney to compile documents to accelerate the investigation; Determine whether any documents or records related to the matter have been destroyed." John Dean suggests Wilson and Plame sue the White House. Salon.com Paul Krugman says the Republican slime machine is perched and ready to slime anyone who joins in the battle over the revelation that someone in the White House betrayed the identity of a CIA agent as revenge Ambassador Wilson's challenging Bush deceit over the alleged nuclear material from Niger. A GOP strategist writes in the LA Times, "Arnold Schwarzenegger has become the poster child for the newest form of trash politics: a political system so corrupt and undemocratic that a compulsive sexual deviant was anointed the de facto nominee by California GOP bosses in a smoke-free backroom." And furthermore: "Simply put, Schwarzenegger is unfit to be governor." Arnold's lame statement that, "It is true that I was on rowdy movie sets..." is a typical twisting of the truth. The words shift the responsibility for Schwarzenegger's groping to the "rowdy movie set." It's like Nixon saying, "Mistakes were made..." Mitakes were made? By whom? He did the same thing in an interview in which he said that "bodybuilders like to party" and that is why when a woman came into the room, "we all jumped on her." Well, Arnold, not all movie sets are like that. Sherry Lansing, chairwoman of Paramount Pictures, is not having that nonsense: "Grabbing someone's boobs or pinching their ass is absolutely not the way people behave on a movie set," she said. "Women work alongside men and are treated with the utmost respect. Moviemaking is a very gender-blind business. No one tolerates that kind of behavior." LA Times Radio host says she was groped by Arnie. smh.com, and a TV host.
October 5, 2003
The Schwarzenegger Disaster
California: Hello Arnold, Goodbye $9 Billion
Schwarzenegger can apologize for his barbarian-style titty-twisting "playfulness" with women, but consider the kind of personality behaves that way habitually with no fear of having to be accountable to anyone. Now that so many women are coming forward, suddenly it's an issue. So Arnold apologizes and he and his Republican cronies think that should settle it. What other country, or state, would install such a person in a position of authority on the basis of nothing but his celebrity, with practically no political positions on record and without having been submitted to any examination? The Wall Street Journal, struggling for something nice to say about Arnold other than the corrupt Republican reasons, said his big achievement was to unite the Republicans. Republicans who smell power that can be achieved through the smokescreen of this actor's celebrity. Great achievement, Arnold. That shows real political finesse, leadership potential (not). It's a ludicrous circus. I can't believe Californians are really going to fall for this crap. Of course you can't believe polls, but who knows? Maybe they are right?
But much more important than the groping is the fact that Arnold is in solid with Ken Lay and if he gets into office he can derail a plan by Gray Davis and Lieutenant Governor Bustamante to make Enron and other energy swindlers pay back the $9 billion they heisted from California. See Greg Palast for the details.
Has evil genius/fat pig Karl Rove finally gone too far? The man who has made a career of slander and vindictiveness, may have finally crossed a line from which there is no return.
Rove learned the dirty tricks style of slander politics from Nixon and Nixon protege Lee Atwater. He has practiced it masterfully -- apparently. (See Nicholas Lehman's profile on Rove in The New Yorker.)
But the petty vindictiveness of the Bush-Rove axis cost them control of the Senate in the first two years of Bush's term because of the way they mistreated Vermont senator Jim Jeffords. They went so far out of their way to snub him and mock even the most basic sense of decorum, that Jeffords shafted them in a way that he could, but that they probably hadn't imagined.
When John Dilulio, who had been head of Bush's faith-based initiative program, sent an indiscreet e-mail to Esquire reporter Ron Suskind saying that the White House has no policy apparatus, Karl Rove threw a fit and Ron Suskind heard him screaming "We are going to fuck him!"
Rove, the man who engineered the downfall of John McCain in South Carolina by spreading rumors to the effect that McCain is crazy, fathered an illegitimate Vietnamese child, that is wife was on drugs, and many more much worse rumors, was surely as angry at Ambassador Wilson for telling the truth about Bush's lies about Iraq having nuclear weapons. Surely Rove screamed even louder for that infraction. Rove responded in the way he is expert, the way he learned from the masters, the way that has rewarded him heretofore. By slandering his target. But this time he crossed a serious line and committed the crime of revealing the identity of a CIA agent.
It's fitting that the same evil propensity upon which he built his career may now be his undoing.
October 6, 2003
It Can Happen HereOh God, politics is a sordid business. On C-Span today there is Arnold playing the role of politician, but with a mediocre script. He's reading every fairy tale dream for everyone: I'll stand up to special interests. I'll fight the corruption in government. I won't raise your taxes. But I'll make sure there is money for education. How he plans to do all this is anyone's guess, and my guess is that he doesn't really care and hasn't given it much thought because what he's concerned with now in this little whirlwind non-election election season is grabbing power. He knows from watching Dubya that once he gets in it doesn't matter what he promised. It's all just a lot of simplistic political platitudes anyway, meaningless crap. Stuff anyone who's been around at all has seen a hundred times, a thousand times. Who are these brainless people who are wearing Arnold t-shirts and cheering at every empty phrase? Were they born yesterday? He talks to them like children. Like they are idiots. Like they can't see through the sham of his simplistic utopian claims. And I guess they can't. How can Americans allow themselves to be taken in by such transparent bullshit?
Many have now heard the Schwarzenegger quote from the transcript of a 1977 interview with George Butler: "I admired Hitler... because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on..." Now of course Arnold says he can't remember saying that "because I despise everything Hitler stood for."
The quote could be from a context that makes it less offensive than it seems at first glance. Couldn't a person say he admired Hitler's speaking ability and his raising of himself from poverty and still abhor Hitler's brutality and racism and his scorn of democracy? Well, if there is any doubt as to Arnold's feelings about democracy, check out some more of the quote:
"We can't live without authority. Because I feel that a certain amount of people who were meant to do this and control; and larger amount, like 95% of the people, who we have to tell what to do and how to keep order. That is why I am all for it... I feel if you want to create a strong nation and a strong country you cannot let everybody be an individual, because everybody has his own opinions and you can't just stick together as a strong nation. Then you have to tell people what to do and you can't just let them float away. In Germany there was a lot of unity. The German soldiers were the best, and with the police force and everything... America.... There is one thing I don't like here and that people go on their own little trips too much. The unity isn't there anymore. And I don't think it's too much the people's fault. I think it's because we don't have a strong leader here... To speak to maybe 50,000 people at one time and have them cheer, or like Hitler in the Nuremberg Stadium, and have all those people scream at you and just being in total agreement with whatever you say." For more quotes, see Lyndon Larouche's Executive Intelligence Review.
More on Arnold:
Let's win one for the Groper! Maureen Dowd For a short film on the California recall, click here. Extremely limited press access to Arnold, says the Oakland Tribune. According to the Independent, "The British television presenter who alleges she was sexually harassed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a London hotel is threatening to sue him for libel over his claim that she invented the incident."
It's a mighty depressing scene, but there is also some good news, more than there used to be as the Bushmobile continues to fall apart.
The Washington Post reports that Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson have hired an attorney to look into the possibilities of making claims against slanderers. Robert Novak, the reporter who named Plame as an agent, pointed out on CNN that Plame gave a $1,000 donation to Gore. (See Washington Post) What is this supposed to mean? Does that mean it is okay to break the law in regard to her and reveal her identity as a CIA agent because she's just a lousy Democrat anyway? Or does it mean that she is only trumping up this charge because she's a Democrat and is looking for a way to get Bush? Does this mean she somehow tricked Rove into revealing her name so she could use it against him? This Republican logic is bizarre. A Schwarzenegger crony on CNN today said that several of the 15 or so women who have come out saying the Schwarzenegger groped them are democrats. Again, this is presumably to nullify the charge. They are, after all, Democrats, so you can't trust them. They are just trying to defeat Arnold. Tim Dunlop, writing on The Road to Surfdom, unearths an interesting tidbit from an earlier Novak piece in which Novak claimed that David Kay, the seeker of the great WMD, had actually found some and would be reporting about them in September. September, that's the month that just passed. Instead, of course, Kay reported nothing, no weapons. Nada. The White House scorched earth policy in regard to anyone who crosses the junta, may come back to bite them one more time, and this time big. According to Common Dreams, the CIA official in charge of analysis on weapons of mass destruction, announced his retirement. The official, Alan Foley, tried to prevent the fake evidence from Niger from being included the state-of-the-union speech. The White House attacked Foley's credibility, but now Foley is a free man. It could get very interesting. The Daily Enron compiled a list of some of Rove's more notable insidious deeds in a lifetime of sordid acts. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy introduced a bill to limit the Patriot Act by expanding the sunset clause in it. Read about it at fas.org (scroll down). Or read the text of The Patriot Oversight Restoration Act of 2003 (S. 1695). American news. The more you watch, the less you know. See Asia Times.
October 7, 2003
Mad WorldThis picture on the AOL screen of Chirac kissing the hand of Laura Bush is enough to make me puke. "Is she our best weapon?" it says. "Our" best weapon? She's not my best weapon. She may be a weapon for Bush. That's his only way of looking at everything else in his narrow little war-game world. I guess his wife might be his weapon too.
The whole great U.S. economy with all its power as an expression of the tremendous human and natural resources of the United States is nothing more than a weapon to Bush, a big tank to drive over the rest of the world as he plays his childish war games.
There is something singularly offensive and dumbed down about AOL. It has a way of addressing the mass as just that, a mass of idiots. It manages to be extremely insulting to intelligence every single day. It's the way it addresses itself to its audience, as if they were all brainless Joe Sixpacks, cheering drunkenly for their team at the Super Bowl, or Bush's latest war.
A whole world view is conveyed in each little headline. Why should they talk about Mrs. Bush as a weapon when Chirac is kissing her hand? It's all about that whole phony battle with France, who "didn't support us," that whole phony scenario that picked France out of a legion of nations that opposed the Iraq invasion and focused on it like it was the only one.
Now today is the California "election" and a lot hangs on it. Are Californians going to show themselves as idiots and choose Schwarzenegger? Are the voting machines already rigged anyway? It's a Democratic state and now the polls are telling us the people favor a pro-Bush, pro-Ken Lay, Republican muscleman Nazi actor?
And one last point on this insane day as the world seems in a mad rush to burn itself into extinction: Who are these people who call themselves Israelis and use their holy day to launch an attack on a neighboring country? Are they really Jews? Does Yom Kippur mean anything to them anymore but a day for war and bloodshed? They are defiling the best traditions of the Jewish people. They seem no more Jewish than these Christian Right lunatics in America are Christian. What do these violent bigots have to do with Jesus?
Here's something good (not cheery) to read with some good links: "September 11: Did Bush Welcome It?" Walter Cronkite speaks out against "The New Inquisition".
October 7, 2003
Hell Breaking LooseIsrael, the most enthusiastic embracer of the Bush attack-without-provocation Doctrine has now attacked Syria. It attacked "what it calls a terrorist camp", according to the New York Times, who has always been quite generous in its assessment of Israel's aggression. Thanks Bush for setting an example to the world for pre-emptive attacks, the new standard of barbarism of the New World Order. Thanks Bush for World War III.
October 8, 2003
It Did Happen HereTry to keep a sense of humor. Not everyone in California has the mind of a 10 year old. Surely not. Ken Lay is happy today, his friend has risen to power in California. Now he's a scriptwriter. Now he will get away with his heist of California with no problems. Dishonesty is rewarded yet again. How incredibly depressing. What now California? Is the Terminator going to fix all your problems now?
The corporate media really pushed for Arnold. That was clear. There was little subtlety about it, but there never really is. Chris Matthews made hay with it with a full-page ad in the New York Times with his picture practically life size, as if it's all really about the great Chris Matthews. I tuned in for a pre-nausea moment and saw Matthews interviewing two teenage girls. "Are you old enough to vote?" No was the answer. "Who are you for?" he asked. "Arnold. I like his style," said one. He asked the other. "Arnold, too," she said. "I like his style too. And I like that he's for education." Right. Just like Bush is for education. Bush, who called himself -- like his father called himself -- the Education President. Yeah, they've both really done a lot for education. Ever notice that? They are both into war and plunder to the exclusion of all else except putting on some feeble appearances.
Even Jesse Ventura said the recall was bogus. But it worked. The fascists overthrew the system yet again and installed their man based on media bullshit as usual. How depressing.
Putting a positive face on things, here's what Ariana Huffington has to say: "The recall election may be over, but the fight has just begun. The fight to invest in our schools, not our jails. The fight for affordable health care. The fight for renewable energy, and a safe clean world for our kids to live in. The fight to make sure corporations pay their fair share of taxes. And, most especially, the fight to put an end to the tyranny of special interest politics."
Could be an interesting battle. Arnold will now have to try to make good on his ridiculous promises. He'll do it with typical short-term tricks and a lot of media hype. And behind the scenes he'll give the energy market to his friends and protect Ken Lay from having to be accountable for stealing $9 billion from Californians and blaming it on Gray Davis. But it may not be so easy for Arnold. Some of these scandals may dog him. And his lack of ability to do what he has acted like he would do may come back to haunt him. We'll see.
The brilliant senator from Utah Orrin Hatch has introduced an amendment to the constitution to allow foreigners (Arnold) to be president. Salt Lake Tribune. According to Neal Gabler in the LA Times, "The difference between the current administration and its conservative forebears is that facts don't seem to matter at all. They don't even matter enough to reinterpret. Bush doesn't read the papers or watch the news... White House medievalists aren't just shading the facts. In actively denying or changing them, they are changing the basis on which government has traditionally been conducted: rationality. There is no respect for facts because there is no respect for empiricism. Instead, the Bush ideologues came to power smug in the security of their own worldview, part of which, frankly, seems to be the belief that it would be soft and unmanly to let facts alter their preconceptions." Playwright Bill Davis asks if America is caught up in a sick drama between father and son Bushes. See Commondreams. Eric Boehlert in Salon suggests that Bush may have alienated the military rank and file that was once a solid constituency for him. See Mark Crispin Miller's site for a clue as to how the Diebold machines may have been used to affect the election in California. Only 17% of California's votes were counted w/ Diebold machines, but that could be enough to make a difference. One analyst found that in the Diebold counties, fringe candidates who had no chance of winning were getting larger proportions of the vote than in non-Diebold precincts. This suggests that the Diebold machines could skim votes off a candidate that is targeted and give them to an inconsequential candidate. We're on to you scumbags! You won't get away with this!
October 10, 2003
The world lost a great shining light when Neil Postman died. His voice is increasingly relevant to the problems the world is now facing. When I first heard the title of his book, Entertaining Ourselves to Death, I thought, how clever! I thought it was humorous, and in a way, surely it was. But I now think of the statement as literally true. Postman saw clearly the problems of the age and commmunicated well. For more on Postman, see the New York Times. "The Memory Project" by by Linda O'Brien. Remembering who we are. Remembering that we are America, not George W. Bush. Is Rumsfeld's influence waning? See Boston.com 10 die in attackes in Baghdad. Australian News In Marie Cocco's "Californians want and get a brutish autocrat", she writes: "Sexual harassment isn't only about sex. It's about power. The accounts of the 16 women who came forward to tell the Los Angeles Times of Schwarzenegger's lewd behavior are predictably consistent, and not just in revealing Schwarzenegger's preference for breasts and buttocks. The women say he groped and grabbed and tried to peel off bathing suits and pinned them against elevator walls. But Schwarzenegger did not choose as his prey lawyers or publicists or big-name actresses or stars of TV journalism. He picked on secretaries and crew members and the helpers who bring morning juice and bagels to the stars on the set. These women talked about being disgusted. And being scared. And they talked about feeling powerless. "What could you do? He was the highest-paid actor in the world," said one woman. "I was a peon." The Guardian. "Is the sheer power of celebrity enough to take a person from nothing to government? And can a candidate win despite the discovery of horrors in their biography? The Schwarzenegger victory suggests that the answer to both is yes."
October 11, 2003
Why do "blue collar" workers, who are among the worst victims of the Bush policies, support him? See "Let Them Eat War" for some speculations. Some comments from Rush Limbaugh on drug use before he admitted that he is addicted to illegal drugs. Televangelist lunatic Pat Robertson suggested nuking the U.S. State Department. See Spacewar. Documents provide clues about who in government covered up the information about the toxicity of the air quality in New York post 911. Grist Magazine. Now that Ken Lay-ally Schwarzenegger is governor of California, forget about all the pretty talk about education and balancing the budget and no taxes and all that crap, his first move is to deregulate the energy market, which means to give more power to people like Ken Lay, to do what they did when they ripped off California for billions through manipulation of the energy market. Scoop. Howard Dean's timeline of "A Year to Regret: 12 Months of Failed Leadership".