Mad June

June 1, 2004

  • Guard Against Vote Fraud in America! The Ohio State Legislature has said they will start using voting machines with paper trails in 2006. That's not good enough. The election of 2004 is of enormous historical magnitude. It is not a partisan issue to want verifiable, reliable voting systems. Or is it? To sign a petition demanding paper trail accountability in voting machines in 2004, log onto ACT
  • Brown Shirts in San Francisco -- Art Gallery Closed after showing a painting depicting abuse of Iraqi prisoners. "The supporters had hoped to persuade Haigh, 39, to reconsider her decision to close the Capobianco Gallery, which came after she was threatened, spat upon and, most recently, punched in the face for showing Guy Colwell's painting of torture. Gathered on the sidewalk outside the small studio," says SFGate
  • Bush Trails Kerry by Eight Points in CBS poll.
  • Clueless Bush Launches "Operation Comeback" -- Like his father, unable to come to grips with the real problems facing Americans under his inept leadership, Bush is launching a PR campaign to convince Americans that the administration is on the right track. Like Herbert Hoover, Bush wants people to believe that "prosperity is just around the corner," extremely well hidden at the moment, however. The Iraq debacle is merely a public relations problem to Bush. The PR campaign will pump millions of the dollars into trying to convince Americans that the war is going better than they think. "We've had so much bad news that the perception developed that it was out of control," said Bush adviser Charles Black. "It will take a lot of energy and effort to improve the perception." The utter lack of ability of the administration to deal with reality is the best thing its opposition has going for it. Business Week Online
  • Here Comes Kitty Kelley's Book on the Bushes, with Neil's wife as a principle source. Independent.
  • The End of Pre-emption? Two years ago Bush articulated his pre-emptive war doctrine. His first exercise of it may have destroyed it. LA Times
  • Never Mind the Truth -- To Bush and Blair, it's all about making it sound good. The Guardian
  • Projections on current trends would make Kerry the winner in November. He's now leading in 12 of 16 swing states. Guardian

    June 2, 2004

  • Madness Engulfs America -- A study published in the American Medical Journal shows that the US has the highest rate of mental illness of 14 countries surveyed in 2001 and 2002, including Colombia, Mexico, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, Lebanon, Nigeria, Japan, and China. "Mental illness rates ranged from more than 26 percent of people in the United States to a little over 8 percent of people in Italy," says the Bakersfield Channel
  • More Fishy Business -- According to CBS, "The No. 1 question in the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday was how three terrorists who killed 22 people were able to escape from a walled compound surrounded by hundreds of police officers ... A Saudi security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, would not directly address whether the militants were allowed to escape. But he said: 'Our main priority was the hostages, and those guys who ran away, we know how to find them.'"
  • Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 has a distributor and is scheduled to open June 25. AP
  • Neocon Backtrack -- "Richard Perle, until recently a powerful adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, described U.S. policy in post-war Iraq as a failure," reports The Toronto Star.
  • Intelligence Puppet to "Lead" Iraq. Ex-Baathist with ties to the CIA and Saudi intelligence picked to be prime minister. Democracy Now
  • Blood On Their Hands -- The New York Times' abdication of its duty as a principal, trusted organ of the free press to check the abuses of those in power contributed to the deaths of thousands in a cycle of violence with no end in sight. According to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, "During the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, the Times served as a conveyor belt for the propaganda of the administration, cranking out stories rife with unsubstantiated claims and outright lies. Thousands of Iraqi and American lives have been lost in a war that owes much to a media that uncritically acted as a megaphone for those in power. The sensational stories the editors refer to were often given top billing on the front-page of the paper of record, while the brief apologia was buried on page A10." Go to the site for a breakdown of the whole sordid process by former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and Harper's publisher Rick MacArthur. MacArthur: "This is systematic cooperation or collaboration with the government. It's not just, oh, we got it wrong or were misled." Ritter: "Everything they were writing was a lie, not just a nuanced misrepresentation of fact. Judy Miller was running stories from the engineer, Hydari, who was provided by Chalabi."
  • More Saudis left the US during the time when airspace was restricted after 9/11 than previously reported, about 300, including a dozen members of the bin Laden family. New York Times
  • The Art of Doublespeak -- "War President" continues to cut veterans benefits. "Education President" continues to cut education funds. AP
  • Bush Warns of More Violence In Iraq -- And provides stunning insight into its cause: "I believe there will be more violence because there's still violent people who want to stop progress."

    June 3, 2004

  • Bad News For Tyrants -- A Chilean court stripped general Pinochet, former military dictator mass murderer and friend of Kissinger and Nixon, of his immunity from prosecution. BBC. With the backing of the CIA, Kissinger and Nixon, Pinochet overthrew the democratic government of Chile, killed its leader and over 3,000 other people. He instituted a reign of terror, imprisoning and murdering those who oppose his dictatorship. Families of his victims have tried to sue him, but he has been granted immunity in Chile, until now. Pinochet's trial could also be bad news for Kissinger and for George H.W. Bush. See a 1999 Miami Herald article "What's Behind the Bush-Pinochet Friendship?"
  • CIA Complicity in Mass Murder -- Saul Landau in wrte in 1999, "The US government has released the first batch of documents relating to the violence unleashed between 1973-1990 by General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile... The documents shockingly show what many people already knew. US officials helped Chile's secret police, DINA, or covered up their atrocities. Try to imagine a US official writing: 'Severe repression is planned. The military is rounding up large numbers of people, including students and leftists of all descriptions, and interning them. 300 students were killed in the technical university…' An October 26, 1973 CIA cable reports on Pinochet's plan 'to destroy any and all resistance within two months.' And, the cable continues, 'This will require more killing by the military…'"
  • Dead People With Connections To The Bush Dynasty

    June 5, 2004

    Enron and Schwarzenegger

  • West Coast Enron Legal Battle Yields Intriguing Results -- It's gratifying to see the power of ugly truths to surface in spite of efforts to suppress them. The nasty little relationship between Bush and Enron just got a whole lot more embarrassing with the surfacing of tapes of Enron traders in a legal battle undertaken by Snohomish County Public Utility District, which wants Enron to forfeit millions of dollars earned during the 2000-01 energy crisis. According to the Seattle Times, "On the tapes, energy traders can be heard making references to withholding energy from the market to drive up prices during the West Coast energy crisis. Traders also are heard discussing how to buy energy from a company, reroute it and sell it back to the same company at a higher price." More in-depth analysis at See the Forest. "
  • Another Ken Lay relationship worth taking note of is that with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently cut educational funds in California to help make up for the deficit created by his friend Ken Lay. The increase on auto taxes put into effect under former governor Gray Davis to pay for the mess, enraged Californians so much, they booted Davis out on his ass. But in a moment of passion, they mistakenly voted in a pal of Ken Lay, one of the principal architects of their deficit, to replace Gray Davis. The auto tax angered Californians, then Schwarzenegger made that anger his opportunity to nullify the recent election that established Davis as governor, and to take his place. Instead of levying any kind of tax, California ought to get its money back from Enron, which clearly manipulated the market and extorted millions from California. But Davis tried to recover it from car owners, Schwarzenegger slips it out of the school budget, among plenty of other things. It takes a lot of dough to make a fat cat like Ken Lay that fat.
  • Schwarzenegger Forgot -- Meanwhile, check out an October 2003 article in Consumer Watchdog: "Internal Enron e-mails confirm that Arnold Schwarzenegger was among a small group of executives who met with Lay at the posh Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel in May of 2001, in the midst of California's energy crisis. View the e-mails. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which obtained the e-mails, is calling on Schwarzenegger to acknowledge the meetings and disclose the information that was presented and discussed. The meeting with Enron occurred ten days after rolling blackouts darkened California for two consecutive days; Schwarzenegger has previously said that he does not remember such a meeting." Isn't that funny? He forgot. Arnold meets so many people. Why would he remember Ken Lay? As FTCR's senior consumer advocate Douglas Heller said, "You don't meet with America's most well-known corporate crook in the middle of California's biggest financial disaster and not remember. Mr. Schwarzenegger should come clean about what happened at that meeting and if he shares Ken Lay's views on energy regulation."
  • Check out also: "10 Questions For Ken Lay" --
  • According to Scoop, "While Schwarzenegger, Riordan and Milken listened to Lay’s pitch, Gov. Davis pleaded with President George Bush to enact much needed price controls on electricity sold in the state, which skyrocketed to more than $200 per megawatt-hour. Davis said that Texas-based energy companies were manipulating California’s power market, charging obscene prices for power and holding consumers hostage. Bush agreed to meet with Davis at the Century Plaza Hotel in West Los Angeles on May 29, 2001, five days after Lay met with Schwarzenegger, to discuss the California power crisis."
  • Robbed by Lay, Who Was Abetted by Schwarzenegger -- According to Greg Palast ARNOLD RESPONDS TO PALAST CHARGES IN "Arnold Unplugged - It's Hasta la Vista to $9 Billion if the Governator is Selected". This rounds out the story: "According to a series of memoranda our office obtained today, Arnold Schwarzenegger's dalliance with boys in a hotel room just two years ago is every bit as scandalous as his manhandling of women during his career as celebrity he-man. The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay. Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken. Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men. It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off." And, says Palast: "Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear. The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the 'Unfair Business Practices Act.' This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers. It takes real cojones to bring such a suit. Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys? Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger."
  • Lay Low -- Unfortunately for Lay, Schwarzenegger and Bush, the governor is not able to contol the attorney general Bill Lockyer, who intends to file a lawsuit accusing Enron of manipulating the state's electricity market during the 2000-01 energy crisis. LA Times

    June 6, 2004

  • Get Soros -- Using money to influence elections is shocking to the right wing when it's not them doing it. Attacking George Soros has become one of the key strategies of the right-wing political strategy. When Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley joined the Hannity and Colmes show on June 3, Soros was referred to as a "left-wing crank," "a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust," "a robber baron," "a pirate capitalist," and "a reckless man." See MediaMatters
  • Bush brushes off Rome protests against his visit, saying, "Democracy is a beautiful thing." Truthout
  • Cheney interviewed by prosecutors in the case about who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame. He wasn't interviewed under oath and is reportedly not scheduled to appear before the grand jury. It seems very unlikely that this case ever be cracked. This article reads like it was carefully screened by the White House. "The decision by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney to seek private legal counsel is routine for high-level officials when they become involved, even tangentially, in legal issues unrelated to their official duties."
  • Still a Net Job Loss Under Bush -- A couple of months of a high number of jobs after three years of job losses and suddenly, according to The Australian, "Accusations of a jobless recovery against the Bush administration have been dismissed after the US economy added 248,000 vacancies in May." Bush is still the first president since Hoover to preside over an overall reduction of jobs during his term. Unemployment stayed at 5.6% because people who had given up looking started looking again and added themselves back into the numbers of job seekers.
  • Students,who don't believe the politicians election year denials that they are preparing a draft, are mobilizing against it. Chicago Tribune
  • Kissinger Blocks Inquiry into Torture and Murder -- According to New York Times, "The chief Latin American expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, the nation's pre-eminent foreign policy club, has quit as a protest, accusing the council of stifling debate on American intervention in Chile during the 1970's as a result of pressure from former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger."
  • Pope Gives Bush a Tongue Lashing. During Bush's photo op attempt to increase his stature by appearing next to the Pope, the pontiff said, "In the past few weeks _ deplorable events have come to light which have troubled the civic and religious conscience of all and made more difficult a serene and resolute commitment to shared human values. In the absence of such a commitment, neither war nor terrorism will ever be overcome." The Guardian
  • Liberty Bound and Gagged -- A new documentary by Christine Rose about the loss of civil liberties in America will be released on DVD July 4. According to the film's publicity material, "Through original footage, archived footage, and interviews with people such as Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, and Michael Ruppert, Liberty Bound explores the state of the union and its ostensible move toward fascism. We talk with people who have been interrogated by the Secret Service and threatened with arrest for doing such benign things as sending an email, turning around during a Bush speech, and having a philosophical discussion on a train." It will appear in theaters in Paris June 23. For information on how to get hold of the film, log onto Liberty Bound.
  • Keeping the Candle for Freedom Burning -- Tens of thousands turn out in Hong Kong to mark anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre. In Beijing, the square is silent. New York Times
  • Bush May Be an Accessory Before the Fact in Plame Leak Case -- According to Capitol Hill Blue, "Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq." Bush grew up never having to take responsibility for anything, never having the law apply to his family. It may not have occurred to him that they couldn't do anything they wanted. Is ignorance an excuse?
  • Caught Red Handed -- The White House is now claiming to have hardly known Chalabi. The evidence says otherwise. Chalabi is on video sitting with the Bush family during the perjuring state of the union address. And plenty more. See Detnews

    June 8, 2004

  • Reagan is Dead. Reagan Lives. -- A brief pause from the sentimentality of grieving for the Gipper to look at the record. "Ronald Reagan is dead now, and everyone is being nice to him. In every aspect, this is appropriate... In this mourning space, however, there must be room made for the truth. The truth is straightforward: Virtually every significant problem facing the American people today can be traced back to the policies and people that came from the Reagan administration. It is a laundry list of ills, woes and disasters that has all of us, once again, staring apocalypse in the eye." William Rivers Pitt in
  • Not What Was Portrayed -- Greg Palast says, "In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis. People don't die of TB if they get some antibiotics. But Ronald Reagan, big hearted guy that he was, had put a lock-down embargo on medicine to Nicaragua because he didn't like the government that the people there had elected. Ronnie grinned and cracked jokes while the young woman's lungs filled up and she stopped breathing. Reagan flashed that B-movie grin while they buried the mother of three. And when Hezbollah terrorists struck and murdered hundreds of American marines in their sleep in Lebanon, the TV warrior ran away like a whipped dog … then turned around and invaded Grenada. That little Club Med war was a murderous PR stunt so Ronnie could hold parades for gunning down Cubans building an airport... Reagan's boys called Jimmy Carter a weanie and a wuss although Carter wouldn't give an inch to the Ayatolla. Reagan, with that film-fantasy tough-guy con in front of cameras, went begging like a coward cockroach to Khomeini pleading on bended knee for the release of our hostages. Ollie North flew into Iran with a birthday cake for the maniac mullah -- no kidding --in the shape of a key. The key to Ronnie's heart."
  • Loved and Loathed -- "Reagan's communications gifts helped him to skip through the scandals that began to plague his presidency. In October 1983, nearly 250 American marines belonging to the peacekeeping force in Lebanon were killed by a lorry bomb in Beirut. Reagan pulled out of the troubled era and was accused of abandoning the Middle East peace process. It is a legacy that many still live with today. But by far the most serious scandal to affect the president was the discovery of a secret programme to send military supplies to Iran. It later emerged that the profits from these arms sales had gone to help the Contra rebels fighting the left-wing Sandinista government of Nicaragua." The Guardian
  • Reagan on anti-war activists April 7th, 1970, one month before the Kent State shootings of four students: "These students want disruption. They seek to prove that this system of ours, when faced with crisis, does not work. If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with." Reagan upon returning from a trip to Latin America 12/4/1982: "Well, I learned a lot. You'd be suprised. They're all individual countries." Reagan on pollution, 1981: "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." Reagan on conservation: "If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all."
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