February 20, 2004

Not Dying, Just Being Born

For a broad cross section of America, the course is clear: Get Bush out. Unite behind the Democratic nominee and get Bush and Company out. But that is only the beginning. The grassroots movement that rallied around Dean is not wiped out just because Dean's presidential campaign is. Washington needs an overhaul. The same kind of pressure will have to be brought against the corporate state under Kerry as that which is now being brought to bear on Bush from many quarters. But this battle will be behind us.

The Dean phenomenon shows what a prairie fire can start with populist politics. Dean became the leader of a movement because he courageously raised the issues that resonated in the hearts of middle Americans. He articulated the wishes of mainstream America, which are being ignored by the politicians in Washington. And the cries of the people are being drowned out by the corporate media brainwash. But Dean sent out the call and it galvanized the country. The rest of the Democrats had to dance to a different drum after Dean took off the way he did.

Kerry is better than Bush. But Kerry is clearly a member of the same establishment as Bush, and will not attempt to upset much of the status quo that needs to be toppled. His background gives much to be disturbed about. His foreground is that he was not a leader who stood up against the Bush phony war when we the people needed strong champions to do that.

I will do anything I can to get Bush out, and in this I am joined by masses of people. But I am realistic. Kerry is about as far from Bush in the spectrum of American life as Pontiacs are from Buicks. Both Yale graduates and members of the Skull & Bones secret society. Both on the same side in the vote on the Iraq war and many other issues. A greater change than that is needed. But first Bush.

  • One of the best pieces I've seen on the end of the Dean Campaign is by William Greider in The Nation. One thing in particular struck me: "In forty years of observing presidential contests, I cannot remember another major candidate brutalized so intensely by the media, with the possible exception of George Wallace. Howard Dean contributed some fatal errors of his own, to be sure, but he also brought fresh air and new ideas, a crisp call to revitalize the Democratic Party and at least the outlines of deeper political and economic reforms. The reporters, as surrogate agents for Washington's insider sensibilities, blew him off. Dean's big mistake was in not recognizing, up front, that the media are very much part of the existing order and were bound to be hostile to his provocative kind of politics. To be heard, clearly and accurately, he would have had to find another channel."
  • Ted Rall, too, said some definitive things about the end of the Dean moment: "At least they didn't shoot Howard Dean. Usually, when an American political figure speaks truth to power, he ends up conveniently dead. RFK, Malcolm X, some say Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone: all martyrs to the quaint ideal of telling it as it is as loudly as possible. Like them, Dean scared the establishment. His aggressive style roused youngsters whom aging Boomers prefer to see somnolent. His populist Internet-based fundraising freed him from the corporate donors whose influence keeps the citizens of the world's richest nation living under a Third World system of social protections.... Of course he had to go." Yahoo
  • Great Piece by Daniel Patrick Welsh in Asia Times.: "Those of us who froze our asses off while being herded like cattle along 3rd Avenue in Manhattan a year ago were not 'misled.' We, and the ten million who marched with us the world over last February 15, we refused to be misled--indeed refused to be led at all by the liars and their sycophants who packaged and sold this war. The world, it can be safely said, from the overwhelming hostility now aimed at the US, was not misled."
  • Joe Conason: "Finding the bottom of American politics these days is as easy as looking up the latest column by Ann Coulter. In fact, it's the same thing. Her act may be wearing thin now that she has accused half of the population of treason, but don't underestimate the kooky commentator. Just the other day, she again managed to shock the conscience of any decent citizen who happened to read her latest screed." workingforchange.com
  • Laura Bush is fine with mass death inflicted by her husband but says gay marriage is a "very very shocking issue" for some. USAToday
  • Democracy Now interviewed Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky, filmmakers of Horns and Halos.
  • Democracy Now's interview with James Hatfield, replayed Aug. 11, 2003.
  • US prosecutor in terror case sues Ashcroft -- "The Justice Department has exaggerated its performance in the war on terrorism, interfered with a major terror prosecution, and compromised a confidential informant, a federal prosecutor has alleged in an extraordinary lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft." Boston Globe
  • U.S. efforts to remake middle east mired in failure. Jordan Times
  • Al Jazeera: No let up in anti-occupation attacks
  • Great interview with Kevin Phillips on Democracy Now about his book American Dynasty about the Bush family, whom he calls "a multigenerational family of fibbers."
  • Courageous 9/11 widows keep on keepin' on. TheConnection.org
  • AntiBush books -- The spring blossoming. USA Today
  • Larry Flynt to publish book on Bush paying for an abortion NY Daily News
  • Bill Burkett's original letter in 2002 to Buzzflash on Bush's AWOL episode
  • Neofascist maniac Richard Perle says heads should roll. If only his would! The Toronto Star 24
  • You never know who your friends are -- Google banned environmental ads that were offensive to Royal Caribbean Tampa Bay Online
  • Scientists criticize Bush administration for manipulation of data: "More than 60 scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes," says Seth Borenstein in the Kansas City Star
  • Enron corporate crook Jeff Skilling charged with multiple counts of fraud, insider trading and giving false statements to auditors, in a federal indictment in the United States. Bush and Schwarzenegger pal Ken Lay still untouched, not even questioned it appears. ABC Australia
  • If the 2004 presidential election were held today, Democratic senators John Kerry and John Edwards would beat President Bush by double-digit margins, a USA Today-CNN-Gallup poll shows. TucsonCitizen.com
  • Jay Leno: "The White House finally found one guy who says he remembers serving with President Bush on National Guard duty in Alabama. Isn't that amazing? Now if they can find someone who remember Bush working on an economic plan!" Comedians on the Political CampaignAssociated Press
  • Bush loses to unnamed Democrat 47% to 43% in CBS poll. By even more to Kerry.
  • Serial Liar Bush Finally Gets Caught
  • This is an amazing story! The headline is "U.S. Issues Iraq Insurgents Wanted List" The news, according to the Associated Press is that the U.S. issued a wanted list. This is, I guess, supposed to be a gripping development. The second paragraph, with no apparent relationship to the first, tells us that three Iraqis were killed in Tikrit. Then the story shifts back to more elaboration on the dramatic release of this wanted list. For six more parapraphs it drags on about "the list" and tells you more things about the way this list was compiled than you ever wanted to know. Finally in the ninth paragraph we get the first reference to the fact that three more American soldiers were killed in Iraq on Monday. Bush keeps lying. People keep dying. And the Associated Press helps the White House de-emphasize the death.
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu tells Bush and Blair to apologize for immoral war. The Independent.
  • Portrait of Bush -- Texas souffle New York Daily News


    February 19, 2004

  • Bye Howard. Dean ended his campaign. A moment of silence for a real populist, who shook up the Washington establishment by responding to the surprisingly strong will of the people. Associated Press. Jesse Jackson's tribute to Howard Dean. "Democrats owe Dean big time for his service to the country and the party in this election campaign. Dean gave Democrats back their voice. He stood up firmly against George W. Bush and his reckless policy of preemptive war and destabilizing tax cuts. He said loudly that the emperor had no clothes. And his candidacy took off because he tapped into the deep anger that many citizens feel toward this radical right-wing administration."
  • "A request for a temporary injunction was filed Tuesday in Sacramento County Superior Court by citizens from Solano, Sacramento, San Diego and Stanislaus counties, as well as a woman from Washington. The citizens are alleging widespread potential security glitches if electronic voting machines are used," says the Times Herald Online.
  • How the Bush administration distorted the intelligence to push the country into war. New York Times.
  • Good piece from American Family Voices on Bush's scandalous military career. "Stop the presses: President Bush made an appearance with the National Guard. The Bush administration still has not been able to confirm the president's presence in Alabama back in the early 1970s, but they made quite sure that his recent trip to Fort Polk, a Louisiana military base, was well-documented. After all, Bush wasn't running for reelection back in the 1970s."

  • Bush said "perhaps" he would testify before the 9/11 committee. Wonder what the oddsmakers make of that. The families of some of the 9/11 victims put together a great list of questions to ask that chief executive, if he'll ever come out of hiding. Check out this list. Bush never will. "The Family Steering Committee Statement and Questions Regarding the 9/11 Commission Interview with President Bush"

  • CNN ran a list of politicians killed in plane crashes in recent years. Remember, the rule in politically correct American thinking is: whenever a powerful politician dies a violent death, it's merely a random occurrence and has nothing to do with the political result of his death. And any speculation about foul play is just the crazy, demented thinking of conspiracy nuts. Nevertheless, occasionally renegade thoughts may enter the mind.

    Here are a couple who happened to be investigating the Iran Contra scandal:

    April 4, 1991: Pennsylvania Sen. John Heinz (R). According to AP: A fiery plane-helicopter collision 11 years ago killed U.S. Sen. H. John Heinz III and showered flames on children in a playground. Heinz, a three-term Republican and heir to the Heinz food fortune, died along with the two pilots of his chartered plane and two pilots in the helicopter who were attempting to see if the plane's front landing gear was down and locked in place. The plane's captain had radioed that an instrument light failed to confirm the gear was in place.

    April 5, 1991: Texas Sen. John Tower (R). Texas Sen. John Tower, his daughter and 21 other people, including NASA astronaut Manley "Sonny" Carter, Jr., were killed in a commuter plane crash near Brunswick, Georgia.

    According to "Bush and Kerry: Blood Brothers from World Independent News Group (WING):

    John Kerry’s wife, Teresa, was formerly married to Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz. Guess what college he attended. Answer: Yale. And guess what notorious fraternity he pledged to. Skull & Bones! Now ask yourself: what are the odds that both presidential candidates went to the same school, belonged to the same secret society, and that one of their wives was married to TWO different Skull & Bonesmen? It’s infinitesimal … off the charts.

    To make matters even stranger, Teresa Kerry’s widowed husband also had direct ties to the Bush family. According to researcher Rodney Stich in Defrauding America, when George Bush Sr. and CIA Director William Casey engineered the October Surprise to bribe Iranian officials into retaining U.S. hostages until after the 1980 elections, two of the passengers on Bush’s BAC 111 flight to Paris were Senator John Heinz, along with Senator John Tower from Texas.

    Even more intriguing is the fact that John Heinz chaired a three-man presidential review board that probed the Iran-Contra affair and had in his possession all the damning documents from that sordid affair, while John Tower led the infamous Tower Commission that investigated a variety of different CIA criminal activities and dirty dealings. Coincidentally, both John Heinz and John Tower died in plane wrecks on successive days in 1991 – Tower in Georgia, and Heinz in Montgomery County, Pa. Once again I must ask: what are the odds of such an occurrence, especially when both men had close ties to George Bush Sr., who was a former CIA director in the mid-1970s? Did both of these men uncover information that they refused to keep silent about any longer?

    Before you answer, consider that after Senator John Heinz died, his wife married Senator John Kerry, who was chairman of the 1988 Kerry Commission, described in the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy as “focusing on allegations of illegal gun-running and narcotics trafficking associated with the Contra war against Nicaragua” in relation to the CIA, Department of Justice, the U.S. State Department, and the office of the President and Vice President. The testimony that took place during these trials (both in open and closed door sessions) was quite possibly the most damning ever against our federal government, yet mysteriously, nearly all of it was suppressed and not widely reported in the mainstream media. Why? Senator Kerry as a Democrat, had every opportunity to blast a Republican administration out of the water, yet he inexplicably remained silent and the status quo prevailed. Could it be that someone tapped him on the shoulder and told him that if he played his cards right and kept these sordid matters hush-hush, he would be rewarded sometime in the future?

    Well, here we are sixteen years later, and guess what. John Kerry, a Yale Skull & Bonesman (class of 1966) who kept his mouth shut about Yale Skull & Bonesman George Bush Sr. (class of 1948) is now running for the presidency against Yale Skull & Bonesman George W. Bush (class of 1968). Peculiar? You tell me.

    According to Sherman Skolnick at Rense.com, "In later years, some Congressmen and other insiders admitted that they thought about impeaching President Reagan but thought it would be a bad thing for the nation. Working on a report on the Iran-Contra mess was a commission headed by Senator John Tower (R. Texas). For short, it was called the Tower Commission. In 1991, when he was unfairly defamed in being rejected by the Daddy Bush Administration for Secretary of Defense, Tower began grumbling he was going to bring out some dirty secrets of the elder Bush then President. Conveniently, Tower perished with his daughter in an apparent sabotaged plane crash in April, 1991. About the same time, Senator John Heinz (R., Penn.), heir to the Heinz Ketchup fortune was himself snuffed out when his airplane was hit from below by a helicopter. Although some believed it was foul play, others contended the helicopter pilot, examining whether the Heinz plane could not lower the landing wheels, slammed into the plane. Others raised the sinister version that the whirlybird pilot wanted somehow to commit "suicide". Heinz' widow married Senator John Kerry (D., Mass.), long connected to the American CIA. Senator Kerry in investigating the dope traffic through his subcommittee, conveniently covered up the role of the espionage agency money laundry, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, BCCI, that also financed the campaigns of a group of senators including Kerry."

    According to Rumor Mill News, "Senator John Tower (R-Tex), then on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who later became its chairman, and then chaired the 'Tower Commission’s' phony 'investigation' which covered up the Irangate and Contragate scandals. Senator Tower was later murdered, when his private plane was blown out of the sky, as he was going around the country to publicize his new book, reportedly because he had let friends know that he intended to revise the final chapter of that book to set forth the true facts concerning the involvement of President Bush and others in the ‘October Surprise” and Iran-Contra scandals.#14) Senator John Heinz CR-Pa), was also later murdered in order to keep him quiet -- again because he was threatening to come forward and tell what he knew about President Bush’s involvement in the 'October Surprise' and other scandals. Like Senator Tower, Senator Heinz’ death resulted from his private plane being blown out of the sky. News reports at the time indicated that Senator Heinz’ plane had collided with a helicopter. What actually happened, however, is that the helicopter fired a missile at Heinz’s plane causing it to explode."


    February 21, 2004

    Vigilance in Realtime

    On Dec. 12, 2000, when a corrupt supreme court stopped the election and the American public was stuck with George W. Bush, an unelected president, I'm sure I was one among millions in feeling immersed in a sick sense of bitter betrayal by the media for its complicity in a massive election fraud that was suddenly revealed nakedly in all its sordidness.

    It was at that point that an enormous crop of anti-Bush websites emerged and an alternative media began to grow up spontaneously from the outraged population. In the savaging of Howard Dean, we see again vividly that the corporate media are tools of the corporate state and not to be trusted for a minute.

    Establishment media, even such venerable institutions as the New York Times continue to support frauds that are being perpetrated by the existing corporate ruling establishment. It is important not to get seduced into a state of docile thinklessness. The media all have their use as conveyors of information. But they must be understood for what they are, and all information coming from them must be seen in the proper perspective and processed accordingly.

    Editor & Publisher is exemplary in its refusal to let the New York Times get away with its hypocrisy in presenting itself as an innocent bystander in regard to the fraudulent information that was used to justify the war and to scare Americans and other countries into supporting it. Editor & Publisher shows how the New York Times was complicit in disseminating that false information without an appropriate examination. This is the proper attitude toward the media establishment. The media must be held accountable, and as consumers, readers, viewers and citizens, people have power. When democratic institutions fail, we can fall back on economic power, which can bring a giant to its knees very quickly.

    The Times was guilty of abandoning its responsibility to look critically at the reasons put forth by a group of unelected officeholders to justify an invasion of another country. In order to prevent the slide into the militaristic totalitarian state that is clearly planned for us by Bush, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz and all the other slimeballs, it is absolutely essential for the population to remain in a state of alertness at all times. Don't give into the hypnotic seduction of the mass media.

  • Those who supported the war because of Bush and Blair's lies now cast themselves as victims. This won't help Iraq's dead and dying, says the Guardian
  • Eric Alterman traces how the media avoided looking at Bush's military breaches in 2000 in favor of immersion in such vital issues as whether Gore was actually the model for the lead role in the movie Love Story. American Progress
  • Bush wins the Triple Trifecta as the worst president ever. The Free Press spells it out.
  • How a photo of Kerry was altered to put him next to Jane Fonda. See UC Berkeley News.
  • Dean: "There is enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change. Yet, you have already started to change the party and together we have transformed this race. The fight that we began can and must continue." MSNBC
  • Salt Lake Tribune columnists Rolly and Wells attended a college Republican rally, and found a very strange sense of humor prevailing. We know Republicans have a merciless will to win at all costs, but it's chilling to see how conscious they are about it when they gather together. The column says, "As Clement bantered with the audience, one Republican gadfly noted that they defeated former Vice President Walter Mondale in that race, adding: 'We had to kill off Wellstone to get it.' He was referring to the death in a plane crash of Sen. Paul Wellstone and his family before the election. An audio tape captures laughter. But both Clement and Danielle Fowles, acting chairwoman of the club, said they did not hear that comment and believe the laughter was just a continuation of the ongoing banter."
  • Bush's conscience. Thank God you don't have to carry that around. The Progressive
  • Democrats Break a Taboo, and find their voice. Washington Post
  • A grisly report on FBI crimes would be shocking if we were not so used to criminal government. Chicago Sun Times
  • Mad As Hell, Cheri Delbrocco says "Who Killed Howard Dean?" Memphis Flyer
  • While sane, rational Americans worry about things like losing their jobs, losing a son or daughter in Bush's war, global climate change, environmental destruction, here's what the leader of the free world is thinking, according to a report from Reuters called "Dismal Six Weeks for Bush Has Supporters Edgy": "Bush's biggest immediate decision is when to publicly embrace a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and whether he should also come out against allowing same-sex couples to have civil unions that give them many of the same rights as married people. "
  • No ordinary election: this is emergency surgery, writes Chris Floyd in The Moscow Times: "Last week we noted that the American mainstream media has finally starting taking a closer look at some of the manifold lies, crimes and misdemeanors of the Oval Oligarch -- albeit after three years of happily gulping down tons of steaming sewage from the Bushist PR factory. This welcome development has been driven largely by Bush's nosedive in the polls, which convinced the media mandarins that they will not necessarily lose market share by practising journalism rather than genuflection But there is of course another factor at work: the emergence of Senator John Kerry as the likely Democratic nominee. Kerry is the quintessential "safe pair of hands," with a solid record of hauling heavy lumber for elite interests -- especially elite media interests. His new prominence -- helped in no small part by kid-gloves media coverage while his opponents were raked with withering fire -- made it safe to give Bush a little bruising. For the mandarins, it's a win-win situation: Replacing one multimillionaire Skull-and-Bones Yalie aristocrat with another is not likely to upset too many profitable applecarts or usher in a more egalitarian society."
  • Daniel Schorr on the privilege of a "war president": "No one expresses himself more passionately about this kind of favoritism than Colin Powell, who came up from the streets of the Bronx and is now President Bush's secretary of State. In his 1995 memoir, My American Journey, General Powell wrote: 'I particularly condemn the way our political leaders supplied the manpower for that war [The Vietnam War]. The policies determining who would be drafted and who would be deferred, who would serve and who would escape, who would die and who would live, were an anti-democratic disgrace.... I am angry that so many sons of the powerful and well-placed ... managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units. Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to our country.'" Christian Science Monitor
  • According to the New York Times, Israeli historian Benny Morris "told the newspaper Haaretz he now believed that 'without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.' He also said, stunningly, that 'there are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing.'"
  • Wayne Madsen in Counterpunch asks, "Will Kerry purge the neocons?" and it's a good question. Madsen puts forth the choice that stands before Kerry, whether to follow the course of the comfortable senator that he has been, or to rise to the challenge and purge the government of the slime brought into it by fellow Skull & Bonesers George Sr. and George Jr.

    This is as profound an existential choice as a political figure ever gets the opportunity to make. Will he answer the call of history, and take the legitimate role of a president to lead the people toward a greater realization of the American Dream? Or will he continue to serve his patrons and stay in a safe, narrow, visionless world of Washington cronyism, as we saw in his uninspired response to the Iraq war threat? Will he renounce the petty loyalties of his fixated secret society and recognize his obligation to humanity at large instead? Unfortunately I have a hard time envisioning the greater of the two possible scenarios for Kerry. He's too entrenched, unlikely to change his spots at this stage of the game. It would be a glorious thing if he would choose to be a great president instead of just playing the game. I have high hopes, but it seems so unlikely.

    Clinton was a great disappointment in this regard, never coming near to realizing his potential to be a really great president. Obviously he was under siege by the right wing and just staying in office and accomplishing anything was a tremendous feat. His playing around with Monica was not significant in the sense of hypocritical outrage that the Republicans -- most of whom were engaged in the same kind of behavior -- but was a betrayal in the sense that it gave the right wing lynch mob the means by which to cripple him and prevent him from any inclination he may have had to actually serve the people.

    His health care proposals were potentially a radical improvement for Americans and long overdue. But the establishment leveled all its firepower at him and prevented him from ever attempting anything so anti corporate again. He pushed the oppressive and misnamed "free trade" agreements and the dismantling of whatever safety net was provided by the welfare system. In the end he failed to stand against the special interests that were his benefactors, for obvious reasons.

  • Eisenhower's views on the military industrial complex -- an illuminating contrast between Ike and the Chickenhawks in Intervention.


    February 22, 2004

  • Good News! According to a story on Yahoo, "Universe Has At Least 30 Billion Years Left."
  • "Slouching Towards Big Brother" by Bruce Schneier, says, "The laws limiting police power were put in place to protect us from police abuse. Privacy protects us from threats by government, corporations and individuals. And the greatest strength of our nation comes from our freedoms, our openness, our liberties and our system of justice. Ben Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Since the events of Sept. 11 Americans have squandered an enormous amount of liberty, and we didn't even get any temporary safety in return.
  • Aura satellite will give the best data yet about global climate change. UPI
  • China is breaking its promises for democracy in Hong Kong. According to The Independent, "The democrats refuse to be intimidated. They are planning a grand rally for 1 July to mark the seventh anniversary of the handover and to coincide with last year's unexpectedly large turnout. One activist, Joseph Cheng, said: 'We want Beijing to understand that if the people's demands are not addressed, they will only get angrier.'"
  • Crashing the Vote -- In the U.S. bad technology is undermining democracy. Tom Paine
  • Veterans are becoming a political force, not a good thing for Bush. Alternet

  • "George W. Bush's Bright Shining Lies" by W. M. Tippins, an aviation writer and a retired airline captain who "flew 250 combat missions in Vietnam in 1970-71 while Lt. Bush was chasing skirt and eating pizza, according to Democratic Underground, where the article is posted.

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