March 7, 2004

Corporate Criminals

  • Newsday tells us that CBS is pulling the plug on the Martha Stewart show. What fools! Man, CBS is really blowing it! Where is their sense of showbiz? Or their business sense for that matter. I see no reason why being a convicted criminal (See The Street.) should diminish her drawing power in the slightest. On the contrary. It's rather glamorous these days.

    Look how many corporate criminals are prominent figures in America. How could you find a heavyweight corporate criminal to compare with Dick Cheney, who as CEO of Halliburton sold millions of dollars worth of weapons to Saddam Hussein while the U.S. was supposedly maintaining sanctions on Iraq, then turns around as vice president and bombs the hell out of the people of Iraq as punishment for being ruled by an evil dictator like Saddam Hussein.(?) Then after the invasion, he arranges it so practically all the contracts for army operations are outsourced to Halliburton. So the taxpayers are now paying private sector salaries to do what the military used to do on its own. Then Halliburton blatantly steals even more by overcharging. Of course this is for providing services in a war that was conceived and executed primarily so Halliburton could get these easy-money contracts, Halliburton and others like them. These guys have more rackets going than you could ever keep up on. It would be one of those lists that reaches to the moon and back five times.

    Bush himself, Little Bush, is clearly guilty of insider trading in the Harken case, the same crime that Martha is being skewered for now. He was told the company was tanking -- he was on the board, so it wasn't even like being told -- and he bailed out. While all the ordinary shareholders took a bath, he made a small fortune. And he didn't report the transaction as required by SEC regulations until many months after the legal deadline. The SEC investigated it, prepared a report which said explicitly, yes, he broke these laws, and no we are not going to do anything about it. But, the report also said, that does not preclude us from taking action some time in the future. (How about now?)

    But aside from the fact that the most powerful and prominent people in our country are corporate archcriminals, let's just think of it from a practical standpoint. Look at how well reality TV is doing? The more sleazy and retarded it is, the more likely it is to have a broad appeal. There are certain things that are so foul and base that people cannot help looking at them. Like the guts of a slashed-open carcass, who can resist stealing a peek? Could you? Be honest. Even if you say you wouldn't, you probably really would. You'd surprise yourself. So it's practically a statistical certainty that they will get a certain cross-section of the mass market to turn on the show and expose itself to the sponsors' messages. Then the money is made. Those things are so cheap to produce!

    But Martha reality, that could have some real substance. Imagine the point of view of this woman: one of the most successful women ever. A success in business, the head of an empire, well known as an authority on all things genteel, on good taste and good living. Now she may be reduced to life in a federal institution for some time. Theoretically it could be 20 years, but that's surely not going to happen. But any amount of time -- have you ever been in a prison? Imagine the ambiance of the department of motor vehicles and then multiply it by negative 10 million.

    Why not take the camera right into the prison and let Martha show us prison life? What could be the harm in it? They put prisoners to work making license plates and building highways; imagine the revenue a show like that could pull in! Seriously, CBS, come into the 21st Century. What are you thinking? You are letting a great opportunity pass you by. Maybe ABC, under Senator Mitchell, will grab it and once again you'll be the stooge.

    And in other news...

  • According to Knute Berger writing in the Seattle Weekly, "Remember, your opponents are the guys who turned a multiple-amputee war hero, Georgia Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, into an unemployed doormat by suggesting he hadn't lost enough limbs fighting for his country in Vietnam. And that's the least of their crimes. So in 2004, forget vigils, puppets, and peace marches, pack away your sea turtle costumes, get out your checkbooks, and strap on your strap-ons. You soccer moms, go knee those NASCAR dads in the groin!

    If you want to take this country back, you're going to have to fight for it.

    You can always apologize on your deathbed."

  • Bush was off by 75% in his predictions of job growth when the Labor Department's figures actually came out. Mr. Easy Money things the economy is looking fine. (NY Times) Outsourcing and use of temporary employees have accentuated joblessness. Another significant factor is euphemistically called "productivity" in the technical jargon of Wall Street. That means using employees efficiently, that is squeezing everything you possibly can out of them without actually cracking them. (NY Times) These are the characteristics of what Bush calls a "good economy," and many of his wealthiest supporters would agree. Any working person who votes for Bush deserves what they are get.
  • When Bush did fundraisers in California, Schwarzenegger didn't show up, either in Bakersfield in the south, or Santa Clara in Silicone Valley, a short trip from the governor's mansion. The convention center in Santa Clara was only half full and Bush took in $700,000, the least of any of his eight California fundraisers since last summer. Arnold did show up at the one in LA, where George got more cash.
  • Amnesty says violence against women is as great an evil as terrorism. If violence against women is not terrorism, then what is terrorism?
  • Bush molests the dead, says the Great Jimmy Breslin.
  • See septembereleventh.org for the 9/11 Visibility Project, which is coordinating a fax/phone/e-mail campaign March 22-24 to urge politicians and media to help to get the truth out about 9/11. Log onto the site to find out more. Send information to tomflocco.com.
  • Nader could give us Bush again. This is no joke. He has that power. Would he refrain from exercising it? Doesn't look like it. It's the scenario of two people standing in gasoline up to their knees and one threatens the other with a match. Bushwatch.net/nader.htm

    March 8, 2004

    Now the real battle begins -- The Bush smear team is ready to do pull out everything in its considerable bag of tricks in its quest to destroy Kerry. They will do anything they think they can get away with. And they have gotten away with a tremendous amount, arguably more than anyone in American history. For a while it seemed like they could get away with anything. Anything. Get away with murder? That's trivial. We're talking mass murder. And to lie about the reason. Lately things are catching up with them, some. Too much damage to too many people. But they won't give up power if there is anything they can do. You think 9/11 was bad? It can get worse, much worse. Time to be ready for anything. It will not be easy to win America back from the fascists. But they were pushed back with the Vietnam War. It can and must be done again. A continuation of the Bush regime and the neocon agenda is not acceptable.

    Time to steal yourself. A worldwide battle against fascist authoritarianism is going on. No stakes could be higher. To win back democratic power will require the perfect focus of the Samurai. Uyesugi Kenshin, a sixteenth century general, said, "Those who cling to life die, and those who defy death live. The essential thing is the mind. Look into this mind and firmly take hold of it and you will understand that there is something in you which is above birth-and-death and which is neither drowned in water nor burned by fire. I have myself gained an insight into this samadhi and know what I am telling you. Those who are reluctant to give up their lives and embrace death are not true warriors." (See Suzuki on Zen and the Way of the Samurai)

    Stay strong. Stay alert. Here are some links:

  • No shame indeed. Bush sat in a classroom doing nothing after he heard about the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. Then he took off on a tangent around America on Air Force One "to get out of harm's way," he confided later. When many warnings were coming in about Al Qaida attacks, many of them quite specific, in the summer of 2001, Bush took an unprecedented month long vacation in Texas and didn't lift a finger to defend against the attacks, did not even issue warnings to the relevant agencies that may have prevented them. Ever since the attacks, he has fought tooth and nail to stop any investigation into the attacks from proceeding. Now he is trying to use the attacks and his pretended heroism to boost his campaign of fear to get elected (or installed again) as president. The families of the victims of 9/11 are not digging it. But Bush & Co. adopt their characteristic stance, "Who cares what you think?" See Salon for more details on the families' and the firefighters' outrage.
  • Bush's Responsibility -- Kennedy's speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in which he says the buck stops with Bush for the false claims that led the U.S. into war against Iraq.
  • The attack on Iraq was illegal, says Hans Blix. The Independent.
  • "A federal grand jury subpoenaed records of Air Force One telephone calls in the week before the officer's name was published in a column in July," according to Newsday. The Bush mob, with its history of CIA gangsterism is good at cleansing its records. But they could get tripped up with so much fur flying in so many directions. They could make a mistake. A subpoenaed transcript from the White House media office shows that the Joseph Wilson smear campaign started a few days before the leak appeared in the press. Houston Chronicle
  • Aristide broadcasts to "the working people of the world" via cell phone: "Stand in solidarity and stop the spread of death."Pacific News. According to Reuters, "Thousands of outraged supporters of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide poured out of Haiti's slums and into the streets on Friday, marching on the U.S. Embassy to denounce the 'occupation' of their homeland and demand Aristide's return." Outrage grows in the international community, reports The Independent
  • As the Republicans try to use Jane Fonda to smear Kerry, Fonda's ex-husband Tom Hayden discusses her trip to Hanoi. "Neoconservatives and the Pentagon have good reason to fear the return of the Vietnam Syndrome. The label intentionally suggests a disease, a weakening of the martial will, but the syndrome was actually a healthy American reaction to false White House promises of victory, the propping up of corrupt regimes, crony contracting and cover-ups of civilian casualties during the Vietnam War that are echoed today in the news from Baghdad. Young John Kerry's 1971 question--'How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?'--is more relevant than ever ... If I were George W. Bush, I would be terrorized by the eyes of those scruffy-looking veterans, the so-called band of brothers, volunteering for duty with the Kerry campaign. They look like men with scores to settle, with a palpable intolerance toward the types who sent them to war for a lie, then ignored their Agent Orange illness, cut their GI benefits, treated them like losers and still haven't explained what that war was about. They know Jane Fonda is a diversion from a larger battlefield. They are the sort who will keep a cerebral United States senator grounded, who have finally figured out who their real enemies are and who are determined that this generation hear their story anew. They are gearing up for one last battle. Chickenhawks better duck." The Nation


    March 9, 2004

  • A CNN poll shows Kerry ahead of Bush, even with Nader in the race. Here's some typically dull-witted CNN logic: "Among registered voters, Kerry's lead over Bush narrowed from 8 percentage points to 5 points in a two-way race and from 6 points to 2 points in a three-way race. That is because Democratic voters are indicating they are more likely to vote than the overall electorate -- something that has rarely happened in past elections and may be fueled by the interest in the recent Democratic primaries." CNN sounds pretty sure of itself in its explanation of these numbers. I'm not so sure. The mathematics looks a little shaky itself, but they are attributing the expected high turnout to "the interest in the recent Democratic primaries." Are they purposefully missing the point here, or are they just missing it? The interest in voter registration is not fueled by the interest in the primaries. Both are fueled by a common source: the determination to get Bush out of the White House before the Bush calamity becomes irreversible.
  • Yet another edition of J.H. Hatfield's Fortunate Son is coming out, this time in a French Language edition for the French market. (See amazon.fr.) I was fortunate myself to be able to contribute two post scripts to this edition. Vive Hatfield! This is essentially the same French translation as published by Editions Timeli of Geneva, Switzerland, as Le Cartel Bush: L'Itineraire Dus Fils Privilegie, but with some changes for the French market. It has been retitled: Bush l'imposteur : Le passé d'un voyou devenu président. Look it up, or visit Babelfish for an artificial intelligence translation.
  • "Stopping the 9-11 Cover Up is Ground Zero for the Peace Effort." Scoop
  • Bush has lived all his life in a world without consequences, and it has continued as he has held the most powerful office in the world. There is practically no limit to the outrages he is capable of committing. See William Rivers Pitt
  • Economic straight talk from an economics professor under whom GWB was a student: "At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine," said Yoshi Tsurumi, a professor of International Business at Baruch College, the City University of New York. "I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that 'people are poor because they are lazy.' He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to 'free market competition.' To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was 'socialism.'... Tsurumi gives an economists view of what is happening. "Something really strange has happened to the U.S. under the Bush Administration. With her ever bulging budget deficits and foreign debts, America's skewed income distribution is rapidly making the U.S. resemble Argentina or Mexico. The 'Jobless Recovery' is not a political mirage, but a serious problem. America's GDP is increasing at an annual rate of about 4.0% this year. But, only those Wall Street 'money gamers' and self-dealing 'management aristocrats' of Corporate America are dizzy with their huge bonuses, padded salaries, and self-dealt stock options. The remaining hard working Americans cannot eat 'GDP.' The U.S. has widening income gap between a few 'haves' and many 'have-nots.'" Bush is driving the U.S. back to the Gilded Age: "This was the same kind of income distribution that the U.S. built during the McKinley-Gilded Age. There was no Securities and Exchange Commission to check 'creative accounting' and Enron/WorldCom-like malfeasance of corporations. America had poor public schools and medical care. There was no minimum wage or labor standard. Both federal and state governments and courts were hostile to labor unions and civic groups protesting the 'injustices' of the society. The natural environment was ravaged by railroads, mining, lumbering, and newly emerging oil and gas firms. Abortion was illegal. Women did not even have the vote. In the South, Christian fundamentalists were pressuring public schools to stop teaching Charles Darwin's evolution theories. During the McKinley-Gilded Age, America's democracy atrophied. And America embarked on her imperialistic expansions of colonising Cuba, Panama, and the Philippines." See Japanese Institute of Global Communications.
  • Bill Maxwell on the myth of Bush leadership. St. Petersburg Times
  • Bush campaign launch stumbles. Thomas Oliphant in the Boston Globe. The astonishingly megalomaniacal Bush practically equates himself with God now: "God loves you and I love you," he said. "And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about the future can hear." This is getting really dangerous.
  • The New Pearl Harbor -- Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin is available on Interlinkbooks.com. Griffin has been a professor of philosophy of religion and theology at the Claremont School of Theology in California for over 30 years. He is co-director of the Center for Process Studies there and the author or editor of over 20 books. No less a historical scholar than Howard Zinn says about the book: ""David Ray Griffin has done admirable and painstaking research in reviewing the mysteries surrounding the 9-11 attacks. It is the most persuasive argument I have seen for further investigation of the Bush administration's relationship to that historic and troubling event." John B. Cobb, Jr., Professor of Theology, Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, says: "Was the U.S.'s failure to defend itself against the attacks on Sept. 11 a comedy of errors or a brilliant, if cynical, plot by highly placed government officials, or something else? We'll never know as long as the administration stonewalls efforts to get information. But such relatively reliable information as is now available is assembled in this book, so that citizens can come to more informed judgments about the nature and functioning of our government. This is a must read for all who want to get past the conspiracy of silence and mystification that surrounds these events."

    March 10, 2004

    The Last Election

    Into double digits as March rushes by. In 10 days or so it will be spring. The sun will be half way back to its peak in the northern hemisphere. Time hurries on. What could be America's last election approaches. Quickly. Do something.

    It's reassuring to hear Kerry say he will send legal teams into Florida to make sure the Bush mob doesn't get away with another massive voter fraud like in 2000. Kerry has tremendous potential. (See Chicago Tribune) This was one place where Gore really fell short. It was an unprecedented situation, and he tried to do the honorable thing. It was honorable in the sense of fair play. But his opponents had no such vice and laugh at such things as liberal weakness. Gore really should have fought for the cause. He abdicated, rolled over.

    By declaring that he will be ready this time, Kerry shows himself to be a man of tremendous potential in the current political reality. It is virtually all latent at the moment. It has yet to be actualized. But the potential is tremendous.

    Put aside for a moment his authority in the present extreme situation by virtue of his experience as a decorated war hero, and actually making a mark on the American consciousness as an anti-war war hero. A man who said something that lives because it so perfectly sums up the anguish and the absurdity of a moment in history: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

    And put aside for a moment his Skull & Bones/Yale/Super rich status and consider only his battle to unseat George Bush. Here is a man who -- potentially -- has the stuff to be a formidable force to bore right through the Bush machine.

    So maybe he got a lot of bills passed and maybe he didn't. And maybe he changed his mind and his positions on some issues. How could any of this be relevant in the context of the alternative? What was Georgey Porgey doing during all those years? He didn't even have positions or political ideas. He was just daddy's boy. He didn't even have jobs. He just got appointed to boards and received money for oil ventures and baseball teams. He believed in a simplistic set of ideas that was enough for him and he didn't want to be bothered to think of anything more. People are poor because they are lazy, the self satisfied aristocrat said. There shouldn't be any Social Security or Medicare. I support the war in Vietnam as long as I don't have to go. (See See Yoshi Tsurumi.)

    While Clinton, Gore and Kerry agonized over their decisions about Vietnam, Bush couldn't have been bothered. He didn't have to worry about going, and the last thing he was going to do was trouble himself over the moral implications. Co-workers in the Alabama campaign he worked in when he was allegedly in the National Guard (though on such a delicate undercover mission no one ever saw him) remember him as an arrogant boor who liked to try to impress people with the fact that he could drive drunk and no cop in Maine would dare bust him because he was from such a powerful family.

    During Bush's "young and irresponsible" years of drinking, partying and making women, which lasted into his 40s, Kerry was already an adult. When he was in his 20s, Kerry was already a serious-minded young man.

    He may be well-entrenched in the good-ole-boy network, but he's not a stooge for Bush. And he won't be blindsided by their CIA tricks. He chaired the Kerry Committee, which investigated the crimes of the Iran Contra scandal, Bush Senior's covert war against Nicaragua financed by secret arms sales to terrorists. He knows who he is dealing with.

    If he can rise to the occasion, he could be the person to save the world from Bush.

    Some items of interest:

  • The Busy Bushies, toppling the government of Haiti, working hard to dislodge the government of Venezuela, now Zimbabwe. What countries are they not working to destabilize and conquer? Read about it right here in ... Australia?
  • Support impeachcentral.com.
  • For a clear account of Bush's insider trading crimes, see public-i.org
  • Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow.org interviews Jean Bertrand Aristide.
  • Under pressure, Bush gives up one-hour limit to questioning by 9/11 panel. McClellan lies baldfacedly: "This administration has provided unprecedented cooperation to the 9-11 commission. It provided access to every single bit of information that they have requested." Miami Herald, Washington Post.
  • Kerry 8 points ahead in poll USA Today
  • Kerry said Monday that he would dispatch legal teams to precincts with a history of voting problems in Florida and across the nation to make sure that ballots are accurately tallied in the general election against President Bush. Chicago Tribune
  • Some behavior is tasteless, Novak's behavior borders on the insane. We now hear that Novak, the journalist that was Rove's tool for outing a CIA agent to get back at her husband Campbell for calling the Bush administration on its lies to incite war against Iraq, played the part of Campbell in some extraordinarily juvenile skit at a political deadhead event. politicalhumor.about.com
  • Greg Palast on The Forgotten Soldiers of Operation "Iraqi Freedom". "His name's Maurice. He's 26 years old with a face like an angel and a computerized prosthesis where his left leg used to be. His name's Victor and he still seems like a boy. His cherubic face, set against blond hair, is plagued by an unanswerable question every time his restless eyes inadvertently fall on the stump: "Why?" His name's Steve and you couldn't imagine a more All-American soldier -- that is to say if he hadn't lost his right arm. A real good patriot, he's always in control of himself and he has the air of an American hero. His name's Rob. Bound to a wheelchair, he's mad at the whole world and explodes in a barrage of insults at everyone and everything for the loss of his right leg and the uselessness of his left."
  • "Have Rove & Bush Lost Their Mojo?" CBS

    March 11, 2004

    Step One

    There is hope, do you sense it? There is a hope in sight that the ugly reign of Mad King George the Second may be over some time in the foreseeable future. The possibility is creating hope in the land. It's a great low frequency vibration, slowly increasing.

    Given the grave condition of being under the domination of the Bush maniacs, the prospect of an end to that reign is a deliverance of the highest order -- at least the highest on earth. That historical fact infuses John Kerry with a tremendous inherent power. Kerry now becomes the vessel for the enormous energy of the great mass of Americans trained earnestly upon the removal of the Bush regime.

    Kerry is in fact the one man now who could prevent Bush from seizing another term at the White House. That potential itself is tremendous power. Of course he cannot do much by himself, he is not his own prime mover, but he is the one in position to channel the divested power of the people to effect the needed change -- at least that one big first step, that very urgently needed step: the removal of the offending part.

    The way is clear. All force must be focused on Step One. A world is possible beyond step one. If that effort fails this coming election, nothing can be counted on.

    And now this:

  • RedefeatBush.com, but this time soundly trounce him so he can't gangster his way in again.
  • According to the Kansas City Star, "CIA Director George Tenet on Tuesday rejected recent assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney that Iraq had cooperated with the al-Qaida terrorist network. Tenet also rejected Cheney's statements that the administration had proof of an illicit Iraqi biological warfare program. Tenet at first appeared to defend the administration, saying that he did not think the White House misrepresented intelligence provided by the CIA. The administration's statements, he said, reflected a prewar intelligence consensus that Hussein had stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear bombs. But under sharp questioning by Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, Tenet reversed himself, saying there had been instances when he had warned administration officials that they were misstating the threat posed by Iraq."
  • Dying for the cause of overeating and lack of physical activity. Springfield News
  • Houston Chronicle: Republicans find that Bush is the problem.
  • Florida again. If Bush goes on being Bush, it won't be so close this time. Salon
  • Rove admitted circulating damaging information about Plame, but not to being the one who revealed she was a CIA agent. American Prospect
  • White House resistance to the 9/11 commission Washington Post
  • Bush's flip flops Working For Change
  • Marie Cocco to Bush: We need answers about 9/11, not TV ads. Newsday
  • Wayne Madsen, "The GOP and the Nazis: There are similarities and, no, I will not apologize" Online Journal
  • March 20 is the one-year anniversary of the pre-emptive war in Iraq. A number of leading peace groups and coalitions have recognized this day as a Global Day of Action to protest against the invasion, occupation and corporate control of Iraq. Rallies and marches will bring millions of people into the streets in cities around the world, to rally for peace and protest the effects of the Bush Administration's policies at home and abroad. unitedforpeace.org

    March 12, 2004

  • Bush had friends, but Martha had none. Stewart's improprieties pale in comparison to Bush's Harken dump. Working for Change
  • Miscounts, Changed Votes, No Paper Trail: Is Electronic Voting a Threat to Democracy? Democracy Now
  • The Myth of American Polarization CommonDreams
  • Bev Harris and the voting machines. Seattle Weekly
  • Mark Racicot says Kerry's remark is unbecoming for a candidate for president -- unless of course he happens to be running against the most lying, crooked group America has ever seen. CNN
  • Kerry and Dean are getting together. New York Times

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