Dog Days of August
August 12, 2003
John Dean closes in on Bush. "Bluntly stated, either the Bush White House knew about the potential of terrorists flying airplanes into skyscrapers (notwithstanding their claims to the contrary), or the CIA failed to give the White House this essential information, which it possessed and provided to others. Bush is withholding the document that answers this question. Accordingly, it seems more likely that the former possibility is the truth. That is, it seems very probable that those in the White House knew much more than they have admitted, and they are covering up their failure to take action." The Democrats on the committee didn't have the guts to draw the conclusions inherent in the report, so Dean does if for them. "After pulling together the information in the 9/11 Report, it is understandable why Bush is stonewalling. It is not very difficult to deduce what the president knew, and when he knew it. And the portrait that results is devastating." Resistance to Bush's war is growing among military left-behinds, and e-mails coming home are escaping the boundaries of the Bush administration information control. See Truthout, from the Observer. Veterans for Peace are getting riled. Also see Bring Them Home Now. According to WSWS, "At least 100 soldiers have been hospitalized with severe respiratory problems since 3/1. Fifteen have been so ill they have required ventilator support to stay alive." Is this from the depleted uranium?
August 13, 2003
Recall Arnold. As Schwarzenegger prepares to capture the governorship of Calfornia for Bush, someone is preparing the next recall, the recall of Arnold. See The Guardian. Like Ross Perot, Schwarzenegger is doing so well in the polls without anyone knowing what is his political positions are, his team is reluctant to tell anyone anything. According to the Mercury, "Reporters had no opportunity to ask the celebrity questions, and a campaign press secretary said they aren't likely to get one any time soon."'He will present his vision for California in the weeks that lie ahead in this campaign,'said Rob Stutzman. 'He will do so in a manner that he chooses. That means we're not going to do it by answering press questions.' Stutzman refused to say when Schwarzenegger might be available for interviews." The perfect Nazi elite royal attitude. We won't have no press scum telling us what to do! Prince Arnold will decide whether he wants to tell you what his plans are. Microsoft lost a case of patent infringement, and was ordered to pay $521 million. See National Post. Fox sued Al Franken for using the words "Fair and Balanced" in the title of his latest book. They say that belongs to them as a trademark, even though it's a big lie. See also the New York Times. Hilarious, and a little crazy and frightening. US menace. Europe toasts while US refuses to cooperate to stop global warming.
August 14, 2003
Fair and Balanced America
Slamming Down the Fist on Dissent: "On the 4th of this month, Sherman Austin was sentenced to one year in a federal prison, to be followed by three years of probation. The basis for Sherman's prosecution was the fact that one of the sites to which his site linked contained information (which can be found in considerably more detail elsewhere on the web) pertaining to explosives and bomb-making. Judge Wilson shocked the courtroom when he went against the recommendation of not only the prosecution, but the FBI and the Justice Department, who had asked that Austin be sentenced to 4 months in prison, and 4 months in a half-way house, with 3 years of probation." bigeye.com Now it's doctors who want a universal health care system. See Sun Times Clinton joins Gray Davis to help stave off the latest right wing assault on democratic government in California. See Mad John Poindexter is utterly unrepentant for his rackets, including the Total Information Awareness Act and the futures market for betting on the probability of terrorist acts. His programs, he said in his resignation letter, had fallen victim to ignorance, distortion and Washington's "highly-charged political environment." Poor misunderstood John!. See the Washington Post. Bush, Reagan, Mussolini, Hitler and other representatives of the conservative mind. A study funded by the U.S. government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity". And boy are they pissed! We're all about Fair and Balanced here!
August 15, 2003
BlackoutIt started with a shudder, and everything dimmed, then brightened again. It felt like a thunderstorm. Then all the power went off in the office. It was off for a minute or two, then came back on. Computers started to start up again. Then it all went dark again. Some people tried to use their cell phones and they weren't working. Was it an electromagnetic pulse? Was there a nuclear explosion? We were four miles out of New York. What if New York was leveled by a nuclear blast and this was just the result of a shockwave? Rumors started flying. It's happening in cities across the country, someone said. Is this the latest terror attack? Are we being set up for the knockout blow? No one knew. People were jittery. It was like 911 deja vu, those first few moments when you have no idea what is happening, before the explanations come to frame everything and make some kind of sense about it. It was the same place I had experienced 911. I watched the towers burn from those windows. I even heard the people on the radio in the first few moments saying the power failure occurred at 4:11.
People ditched the office soon and went home. There were few traffic lights on the way home. I was amazed that the trip went so smoothly. Arriving back in Hoboken I parked the car quickly and started to walk back to my apartment. I saw Christmas lights in the window of the bar on the corner. I turned the corner and heard the hiss of air conditioners. I couldn't believe it. New York was out. Jersey City. Secaucus. Newark. Detroit. Cleveland. Ottawa. Toronto. "The whole northeastern seaboard." But not my block in Hoboken. Power flickered off a couple of times, then came back on. We were an island of power within a sea of blackness.
Schwarzenegger's liberal views leave GOP flummoxed. See SF Gate "Arrested British citizen was profiteer; not terrorist, officials say", reports the Statesman. Presumably, then, this makes his selling weapons to terrorists more acceptable. Just the healthy profit motive. The neocon foreign policy, the estalishment of the American empire, is a bigger, badder sequel to the Iran Contra scandal. See Alternet. Soldiers' families say, "Bring them home!" "George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld care about the troops in the same way that Tyson Foods cares about chickens," said Stan Goff, a retired Army master sergeant who served in the Rangers and Special Forces counter-terrorist units. See Atlanta Journal Constitution.
August 16, 2003
Human Comedy in the DarkDuring the blackout the human comedy presented itself in exaggerated terms. The society that our political leaders constantly boast is "the greatest civilization of all time" is almost totally dependent on energy sources it cannot control, that are unreliable and in many cases require the killing and oppression of many people to ensure their continued supply. This society is so brilliant that when the central power source runs into a glitch, almost everything stops. The society and its survival systems are paralyzed. Even people's clocks go to zero. All their information is out of reach. Their food cannot last through the night. When the power goes off we are a nation of urban barbarians with few survival skills. We are enormously vulnerable.
Only a century ago, Edison began wiring cities for lights. The accessibility of electric power set off a wave of innovation creating a myriad of devices that could perform innumerable tasks. But to carry to the extent to which the whole society is dependent on undependable energy sources is not an intelligent extension of the innovations of Edison and countless inventors who followed him. There is something fundamentally wrong with this system.
As soon as the blackout was recognized, all the politicians rushed out for their photo ops, Pataki and Bush making empty comments, assuming positions of authority for the accommodating media, but in fact doing nothing material to help deal with the crisis. What jokes they are. They all want their chance to replay Giuliani on 911, to cash in on a chance for good photo ops, to be portrayed as heroes.
And in other news.
No troops can expect to be coming home from Iraq for at least a year. See the New York Times A report by Johns Hopkins University computer scientists warning that Virginia's voting machine software could easily be hacked into tampered with has some state officials worried. See the Washington Post. The stories of people calling from hijacked airlines on their cellphones: All part of the stream of bogus information surrounding the official stories of 911? See "Permanet, Nearlynet, and Wireless Data". Check out The Democracy Revitalization Program. A Cancer on the Bush Presidency. According to Democracy Now citing a New York Times report, a report from the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector says the White House pressured the agency not to report the health hazards from the 911 attacks.
SUNDAY NEWS AND BLUES
August 17, 2003
America Lost and BewilderedTraveling in New England, staying in a cheap hotel in Vermont, the teenagers were running wild through the place at night and in the morning the seniors appeared. They seem dazed, the seniors of middle America. Among those who are not affluent and are struggling to survive, there is a cloud of despair, a sense of foreboding. I think they are profoundly confused by all the craziness that has gone down since the Bush takeover. They want to believe in something. They hold on to this vision of a good and just America. But increasingly the evidence conflicts with that vision.
The hotel marqui says "Sam -- Forever we will miss you" on one side, and on the other "Our hero, Pvt. Kyle Gilbert, we are proud of you." The deaths are starting to affect middle America. They want to hold on to their Yellow Ribbon fantasies about America, but now their families are friends are starting to die for this cause that is so flimsy.
When George W. Bush said, "Mission Accomplished," it meant that the invasion of Iraq was an accomplished fact and the oil wells had been secured and were pumping oil. Americans took that to mean their loved ones were coming home, if they weren't already dead. But it wasn't true. Now many more have died, more than in the Gulf War, more than before Bush's pronouncement of victory. And now the soldiers are being told they won't be coming home for a year.
These people made a deal, they signed up to defend their country, not to make a bunch of oil millionaires richer. Bush has betrayed them profoundly. Many have made the supreme sacrifice. And it is now obvious to everyone there were no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was a broken down, defenseless country, is now a broken down occupied country whose oil is being stolen to pay for that occupation.
Around the Web today:
All Roads Lead to Enron -- Greg Palast walks us through the history of energy piracy that leads to failures like "the Great Blackout of 2003" in his essay "Power Outage Traced to Dim Bulb in White House". Deregulation of the electric utility industry, Palast says, is like bank robbers figuring out a way to make safe cracking legal. "The enthusiasm of politicians for deregulation," Palast says, "was in direct proportion to the payola provided by power companies." FDR outlawed political contributions from utility company, but George Bush senior gave the utilities the gift of deregulation and they responded by giving George W $16 million in campaign contributions. This piece by Palast is a beautifully written explanation of one more of the Bush family's looting of the American taxpayer, and in this case the American ratepayer. It's a good picture of what goes on behind the scenes when the Captain Bush and his merry band of pirates rip off the world's richest economy. And you won't see it on TV. More Answers to the Question, "Why Do They Hate Us?" -- According to the Associated Press, the recent heat wave in France killed 3,000, so many it's been impossible to keep up with the burying requirements. It's like a new plague. And the U.S., under the tight fist of the oil industry, backed out of the Kyoto protocol, which provided at least some hope in staving off disaster a little longer through cooperative international action. All a little too civilized for Cowboy George who'd rather play shoot-'em-up than play diplomatic games with Old Europe. In an increasingly bizarre political climate, we have yet one more unprecedented occurrence, "senior administration officials" outing CIA undercover operators. Who would ever have thought of such a thing? But once again the Bush administration shatters precedent. It is, of course, a crime to uncover a CIA agent, but since when has this administration let something like a law get in its way? See the story by John Dean at findlaw.com. The pressure cooker in Iraq continues to build up heat as more and more of the country turns against the U.S. occupation, and the U.S. continues massacring Iraqis supposedly in its quest to kill Saddam Hussein. The old trick of using Saddam as the excuse for any atrocity is wearing thin. Iraq is becoming increasingly lethal for all human life, now including Americans. The Bush disaster continues to deepen. Mister/Ms X once again defeated Bush in a Zogby poll that showed a 47-46% majority favor an unnamed Democrat over another Bush term. Molly Ivins on the Fox lawsuit against Al Franken -- "Fox is actually claiming that the words 'fair and balanced' belong to Fox as part of its trademark. Franken in turn is threatening to trademark the word 'funny.' I think I'll trademark 'insightful.' The lawsuit accuses Franken of being 'deranged,' 'a parasite,' 'sophomoric' and lacking 'any serious depth or insight.' That certainly proves O'Reilly doesn't lie like a rug. I got caught in a verbal slugfest between the two of them recently in Los Angeles. The high point was when O'Reilly cleverly riposted Franken's account of his lies by screaming: 'Shut up! Shut up!' A particularly sound argument, I thought. Franken, in turn, said, 'Bill, we're not on Fox News.'" The right wing now seems to be showing the basic stupidity underlying the tactical brilliance which has overwhelmed all resistance since the Bush catastrophe began... When did it begin? Forgive James C. Moore. He voted for George W. Bush. For a bio of Arnold, see the New York Times.
Commondreams. Enron is everywhere. Arnold met with Ken Lay while Lay was looting California through his manipulation of the energy market.