April 1, 2008

A Word to the Wise

April Fools and Cattle -- Individually we all feel helpless against the Great State, the giant empire that has consolidated greater power than any natural entity in history. We cower like cornered rats hoping not to get clubbed by the powerful men who stand at the control board of our society, who watched in passive silence as we were attacked on 9/11 by an invisible enemy for whom all resistance was missing. Behind the knowing leers of Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and George Bush, we see that they have no fear that any legal process will ever reach them. Don Siegelman fingers Karl Rove, Congress investigates Rove's manipulation in the process that put the popular Democrat in shackles and led him from the courtroom straight to prison for essentially accepting a political contribution like those that every politician accepts every day. Is it any wonder the politicians don't stand up against the Bush boys? Sooner or later the ones who give them trouble end up in plane crashes, disgraced or in prison, and everyone knows it. Where will misfortune fall next? Does Karl Rove look scared? In legal terms he should be very nervous, but he does not fear the law.

Bush has declared that he is not going to be any more of a lame duck than he ever was a compassionate conservative. (See "President Bush Endorses McCain" on "And, by the way, I'm not through. And I'm going to do a lot. And John's right, I do have a day job to keep. And I plan on keeping it. I've told the people that follow me in this press corps that I'm going to sprint to the finish. And I mean what I say. I got a lot to do.") He's going to go out running, he warned us, and those who underestimate him are fools. Cheney in November 2000 issued the order: "Just get the White House" -- and so they did, in defiance of the democratic system. And as things close in on them in the justice system and the electoral system, do you think they have any intention of peacefully letting go of power? Submitting to legimate legal processes? And winding up in jail? Karl Rove? Dick Cheney? No way.

They have a Neocon agenda to pursue and they are letting nothing -- nothing -- get in their way. Hence their smirking leers at us the great masses as we become unruly and make noise. They laugh at us. At any moment that the fingers lap up around their feet they can squash us by the millions with the power at their disposal. And do you think they would hesitate to use it? Well, we shall see. Let's hope and pray they go peacefully, but not if they can help it.

Recall that in August 2001 when Bush was on his month-long vacation only a few months after taking office, he had already passed his tax cut and broken the budget and pundits speculated on what he could possibly do in the fall after having squandered whatever political capital he had during his honeymoon. The pundits couldn't think how he could have much political room to move when he got back to his office and Congress went back into session. But September had barely begun and then came the attacks, and then the neocons spun out a detailed radical agenda with dazzling speed, essentially using the incident to concentrate all power and authority into the White House, where Cheney and his boys were busily hatching the neocon plot to take over the world -- seriously! It sounds like a Batman comic but this Lex Luther is the real thing. The "Rebuilding America's Defenses" document lays out in plain English how the neocons planned a new world order in which America rules the world unilaterally. This is the New American Century that they envisioned. To them it is the only acceptable way for history to proceed.

Cheney organized several defense drills on 9/11 that just happened to simulate the real events of 9/11 -- so there was no chance the military could respond effectively to such an improbable event that they reasonably thought was probably a defense drill. (see, Crossing the Rubicon, Prison Planet) You can call it a coincidence and say Cheney never meant for that to happen, but how perfect! How coincidentally beautifully it fit into their stated plans. And how beautifully it worked out coincidentally that they had the voluminous USA PATRIOT act all written up and ready to pass, after chief congressional leaders of the opposition just happened to coincidentally be administered with Anthrax virus sent to them in the mail, which happened to be traced back to a Pentagon culture right before the investigation was abruptly dropped.

Is it any wonder that the nation still cowers under unnameable fears? Now while we're all caught up in the horserace of the election, in who said what rude thing about whom and who surged in the polls today, the Bush-Cheney mob are planning their next move, their exit, but it will not really be an exit, not if there is any power they can bring to bear to insure their continued hold on power. I don't want to be a bummer, but I'm just saying, hold on to your hats. Don't be surprised. It is very unlikely that Barack Obama is going to sail into an electoral landslide without some serious incidents taking place that can be used to justify war against Iran, further consolidation of power by the executive, perhaps exercise of the powers recently extended to clamp down with an open police state. Do not be surprised.

In that same performance, Bush gleefully declared that McCain "is GON be president!" Mark his words. You cannot deny that the man means what he says when he talks power, brutality and lethal means. He will use everything in his power to assure that power is passed on to a loyal comrade who has proven that he will kiss the right ass and genuflect before true power. That power is considerable, as is the will to use it, demonstrably so. There is little restraint in this group when it comes to seizure and exercise of power. This is what they live for.

Bernard Weiner, in "Things That Go Bump in My Night" in The Crisis Papers, probably has unwillingly put his finger on what is going on. "An attack on Iran could happen very soon," writes Weiner. "The buildup of U.S. forces in the region has proceeced apace in the past few months; naval preparations, according to Russian intelligence, are much the same as just prior to CheneyBush's "shock&awe" attack on Iraq five years ago. The Saudis seem to be preparing for possible nuclear fallout from an attack on Iran's reactors. ( Not a good sign." Weiner worries "That some major false-flag terrorist attack, perhaps arranged by our own black-op agencies, will be unloosed in an American city -- maybe a dirty nuke, or some virulent toxin, or a bomb -- and the planted 'evidence' will seem to lead back to Iran. CheneyBush, perhaps in coordination with Israel, will finally get their wished-for aerial assault on that country." Unfortunately, these are the kinds of possibilities we have to be prepared for. The worst thing is to be shocked and awed when the next strike comes, as if anyone really believes we are "safe". The administration has taken great pains to remind us interminably that we are not. And again, it is unwise not to take them at their word in these matters. We know well that when Bush says things like John McCain has a heart that will care for the people, he's talking out his ass and he usually garbles the words and ends up sounding like a half wit, because God bless him, he really is a terrible liar. But when he talks brutality and ruthlessness, he is all sincere and his mind and language are crystal clear. The man who used to explode frogs with firecrackers is not one to let his ambition be thwarted by any momentary surge of compassion. The man who has presided over hundreds of thousands of deaths and dismemberings in Iraq based on a justification that was at best an error, is not going to get squeamish now. Just watch out. As Thoreau said, there is no discipline that can be more important than just being alert.

Beyond his goofy, affable good-ole-boy manner on the surface, with which he initially so effectively charmed the press corps, this is one extremely serious, formidable human being. And Cheney, Rove and the rest of the gang are at least as treacherous as he is, and extremely well-organized and motivated.

April Fool's Day, 2008

Daniel Ellsburg: A Coup Has Occurred -- Speaking at an American University symposium in September 2007, Ellsberg said, "A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It's not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That's the next coup, that completes the first. The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution ... Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don't get started now, it won't be started under the next administration. Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can't be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little ... I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state. ... If there's another 9/11 under this regime ... it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth." Words of Power.

April 2, 2008

Zinn on Empire -- Howard Zinn, the clarifying and paradigm-smashing historian has published a new comicbook version of his People's History of the United States. In honor of the publication date, tomdispatch has posted some of Zinn's writings on American empire. "With an occupying army waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with military bases and corporate bullying in every part of the world, there is hardly a question any more of the existence of an American Empire," writes Zinn. "Indeed, the once fervent denials have turned into a boastful, unashamed embrace of the idea." However, he says, the idea never occurred to him until after he had been a fighter pilot in World War II. His education provided no hint of it. "I recall the classroom map (labeled 'Western Expansion') which presented the march across the continent as a natural, almost biological phenomenon. That huge acquisition of land called 'The Louisiana Purchase' hinted at nothing but vacant land acquired. There was no sense that this territory had been occupied by hundreds of Indian tribes which would have to be annihilated or forced from their homes -- what we now call 'ethnic cleansing' -- so that whites could settle the land, and later railroads could crisscross it, presaging 'civilization' and its brutal discontents." The more Zinn one reads, the better.

April 3, 2008

Is There an Obama Difference? Doug Henwood in Left Business Observer #117 offers "An Analysis of Obamamania" that makes some points. It points out that "serious leftists" like Barbara Ehrenreich have fallen in love with Obama, but that "Though he's being touted as an early opponent of the Iraq war, he told the Chicago Tribune in 2004: 'There's not that much difference between my position and George Bush's position ...' He voted to renew the PATRIOT Act, campaigned for happy warrior Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont in 2006, and wants to increase the size of the U.S. military. He supports Israel's continuing torture of the Palestinians penned into the Gaza Strip. A Congressional Quarterly study found his Senate voting record was virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's; the only major difference in their votes is a surprising one: a move to limit class actions suits against corporations, which Clinton voted against, and Obama for. Obama's vote was against the preferences of a Dem financial base, trial lawyers, but pleasing to the Fortune 500 and Wall Street." He goes on to clarify that he does not mean to imply a preference for Hillary, whose "politics are bellicose and neoliberal. Her 'experience' consists largely of having watched her husband be president for eight years, though it's likely they were sleeping in separate bedrooms for much of the time." I would differ on some points, but it is largely point of view and interpretation. First we must consider the context. Coming from a period of George Bush when the most powerful people in the world will be pulling every trick they can to install Crazy Warrior John McCain in his place, Barack Obama is about as radical as we can hope to see on the American political horizon anywhere near the presidency. So that is some cause for hope. We must also consider that while his record does contain the unappealing aspects listed above, he is being buoyed now on a wave of deep discontent, rage, revulsion for the Bush years, and he will have to bring some substantial change from that or there will be more noise than he can stand. It may still not take us very far toward where we should legitimately be as a modern democratic republic, but it may slow the freefall into a fascist third world military dictatorship. I would also mention Obama's book Dreams From My Father as evidence that we are dealing with a consciousness that is very different from the conventional political mind. His compromises of the past notwithstanding, he has potential to offer something different and there is going to be a great deal of pressure on him to do so, as of course there will be on him not to do so. It's not a fixed scenario, it is being created in action now. I would also interpret some historical events a little differently than Henwood. He capsulizes the '60s with this summary: "As Wills explained it, throughout the 1950s, left-liberals intellectuals thought that the national malaise was the fault of Eisenhower, and a Democrat would cure it. Well, they got JFK and everything still pretty much sucked, which is what gave rise to the rebellions of the 1960s (and all that excess that Obama wants to junk any remnant of)." I would not write it off so simply. In between the election of JFK and the rebellions was the death of JFK and several other leading figures who represented various kinds of change. The rebellion was not just that "everything still sucked". JFK did bring some meaningful change in attitude, spirit, possibility. Though his intentions will have to remain controversial, he did begin bringing troops back from Vietnam, an order that was immediately reversed after his death, which led to the escalation of the war and then to the rebellions. As with Roosevelt, or Lincoln, or you name it, we are not dealing with ideal human beings, they are politicians. But the difference between an Obama and a Bush, or a McCain, or a Kerry or even a Clinton, would be significant and a change worth being hopeful about, and maybe even a little enthusiastic.
  • Oregon Impeach Team -- Three candidates for U.S. Congress in Oregon are running on an impeachment platform. Mark Welyczko in OR-01, Joe Walsh in OR-03 and Nancy Moran in OR-05 are putting the heat on their districts to put them in the impeachment column to support H.Res 799 to impeach Dick Cheney, and to support Wexler's call for impeachment hearings. They call themselvces The Impeach Team. Hear their side of the story in their video at
  • Closing In on Rove -- According to Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report at, former governor of Alabama Don Siegelman is vocally implicating Rove in the partisan political game that put him in jail. But is Rove invulnerable to legal processes?
  • Pieces of the Puzzle -- Some day, when this period has passed, depending on what is left, David Ray Griffin may be remembered as a very great man. This theologian has coolly and calmly investigated all the information and claims and counterclaims about 9/11 and has laid his case out rationally, piece by piece, so that by looking it is possible to gain some clarity on these terribly charged incidents. In a piece published at, Griffin takes on Ted Olson's assertions that he received phone calls from his wife from American Airlines flight 77, which was supposed to have crashed into the Pentagon that day. Griffin lays out several versions of the story that Olson told, which contradict each other and in some cases contradict themselves. He shows evidence that contradict each of the stories and then shows that Olson's story is contradicted by American Airlines, the FBI and a Pentagon report. The undermining of Olson's stories raises many questions. His story was the original source of the claim that the hijackers used boxcutters as weapons. And of course there is the story about what really happened with his wife, the famous conservative commentator. Olson was the attorney that argued Bush's case with the Supreme Court during the election standoff of 2000. He was appointed Solicitor General by Bush.
  • Former Reagan Official Accuses -- Paul Craig Roberts, who was assistant secretary of the treasury during Reagan's first term, now has some amazing things to say. In, he writes that, "The effort to link Putin and the FSB to Litvinenko's death might be a tale designed to cover-up a more serious crime in the making. Polonium-210 is an indication that someone is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Epstein finds reasons to suspect that Litvinenko had, and perhaps Berezovsky has, connections to a Polonium smuggling scheme, and Litvinenko's death resulted from accidental or careless exposure to Polonium-210. Who would be trying to build a secret nuclear weapon or perhaps only a "dirty bomb" that would serve to spread some radiation and massive amounts of fear and hysteria? The public has been carefully prepared to suspect Iran. If such a device were exploded somewhere in the United States, Bush, Cheney, and the neocon Nazis would have their second new Pearl Harbor to justify their planned attack on Iran."

    April 4, 2008

    Four out of Five: Wrong Track -- According to the New York Times, "Americans are more dissatisfied with the country’s direction than at any time since the New York Times/CBS News poll began asking about the subject in the early 1990s," when another Bush was president. According to the poll in reference, 81 percent of respondents said they believed that “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track,” up from 69 percent a year ago and 35 percent in early 2003.
  • Tangled Web -- Larisa Alexandrovna, a watcher of the Siegelman case, thinks that Rove has gotten caught in a trap of his own making with his vehement denials of any knowledge of Dana Jill Simpson, who has accused him of going after Siegelman.
  • Double Standard -- On Bill Maher's show "Politically Correct" last night he read a statement from Pat Buchanan's blog: "First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known. Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American. Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream." It's an incredibly ignorant and arrogant statement, need I mention. A quick reminder, these people were kidnapped, taken from their homes, shackled around the neck and thrown into the holds of the slave ships where they writhed in pools of excrement and blood and a large proportion of them -- an "acceptable loss rate" -- died before arriving at the other shore. If they survived, they were enslaved and forced to do hard labor, or copulate, or submit to anything else the bossman took it into his head to do to them. Families and communities were torn apart generation after generation. The horror to which these people were subjected is almost beyond fathoming, and obviously Pat Buchanan is not one to try. But Tavis Smiley, who was on Maher's show, made an important point. Why is this statement not being examined, hashed over, torn apart, endlessly repeated and scorned as Wright's statements are? Why is he not shamed and disgraced? Why is he still seen as an authoritative voice that is broadcast nationally every Sunday on the McLaughlin Group TV show? What is so offensive about Wright's remarks that is somehow considered worse than this? In fact, Buchanan's comments will pass with barely a remark. Just watch.
  • Good Film -- A good study by Jamie Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, of what it is like to be "Born Rich". Johnson interviews a number of his friends and peers, a small community of the super rich, people who were born millionaires and billionaires and are in many ways very confused by the whole issue.
  • Obama Overtakes in Superdelegates -- According to, "Obama, an Illinois senator, has the support of 99 Democratic U.S. lawmakers and governors, compared with Clinton's 96 -- a dramatic turnabout since the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, when Clinton, a New York senator, had more than double Obama's support within this group, 91 to 43. Clinton leads Obama by four lawmakers and governors if those from Michigan and Florida are counted; the two states held primaries in violation of party rules and were stripped of both superdelegates and delegates picked by voters. The party has been unable to resolve how to count their delegates."

    April 5, 2008

    Snuff Film -- Chilling analysis of footage of the JFK death motorcade. One moment that speaks volumes. You see clearly the Secret Service agents closest to Kennedy being ordered to fall back. You see one of them raise his arms as if to ask why as he looks back at the man giving the order. He looks angry and frustrated as he turns around and drops back to the car behind. Three times he makes the questioning gesture with his hands. This happens just before Kennedy gets into the kill zone. Scary as shit. See "John F Kennedy Assassination Secret Service Stand Down". And check this one, a fairly long film by Alex Jones: Bush Link to Kennedy Assassination
  • Mind Change -- "It Has Happened: I'm a 9/11 Truther" by Ralph Lopez at

    April 6, 2008

    Goodbye and Hello -- MSNBC discontinued the show of pretty boy right wing punk Tucker Carlson recently, which was a nice thing, but don't expect him to disappear. The networks make sure it's true that you can never keep a bad man down. Not sure exactly what Carlson's qualifications are. He seems to have the skill of twisting anything around to serve the agenda he's paid to push, and to be able to do it while representing something the networks want to use to package their message. He looks young, has lots of hair, seems articulate, relatively bright, the kind of person you would think would still have a fairly humanist view of the world, still have a heart, as it were, some signs of life. But in fact supports the corporate old man's agenda, the one that urges young people to support these wars for the financial gain of some even though it may mean giving up their lives or mobility or sanity. This is what the networks like about Carlson, he can preach the same crap as Bill O'Reilly without projecting O'Reilly's foul rancorousness. I saw Carlson as a guest pundit on some other show recently, making me wonder even more what his qualifications are, what he brings. Because as a host you can be somewhat of a talking head master of ceremonies, but as a guest pundit it has to be about bringing some insight to the show. I noticed he has discontinued the bow tie since Jon Stewart ridiculed him for it on Crossfire, shortly before he was bounced from that slot. (see reuters , for more on the departure of dear Tucker)
  • Scary Shit -- According to Jason Leopold at Consortium News, "The Pentagon's declassification of a five-year-old memo authorizing military interrogators to use brutal methods to extract information from prisoners at Guantanamo Bay sheds new light into the dark corners of the Bush administration's legal theories that put the President and his subordinates beyond domestic and international law." Leopold points out that the memo referred to other memos, not yet made public. "Yoo footnoted one of his earlier memos, dated Oct. 23, 2001, entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States." According to the footnote, that memo 'concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.'" Can you spell M-A-R-T-I-A-L L-A-W? The administration is using the timeworn device of using military emergency as the reason to void all rights. Yoo argued that Bush would "be justified in taking measures which in less troubled conditions could be seen as infringements of individual liberties. We think that the Fourth Amendment should be no more relevant than it would be in cases of invasion or insurrection.'" Take note. Know thy oppressor.
  • Bye Bye Air America -- Air America has Walmart as a sponsor now. Randy Rhodes was fired over some foul mouthed things she said about Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro in her comedy show. They said she was representing Air America, but she was doing her comedy show. She said things that would not have been acceptable on the air. But they didn't just reprimand her and say, "Don't say things like that..." They already prevent her from saying things like that on the air, the FCC prohibits it. But they took away her voice entirely. She make talk a lot of shit, but her voice is very important. She does a lot of very good research, stays on top of things, reports things that people may not hear otherwise, at least not questioned the way she did. In her comedy act she got a lot more raunchy. Now they have silenced her. If you turn on Air America, you can hear Walmart, but not Randy Rhodes. And since she was one of a tiny minority in the media who don't parrot the corporate line straight, it is a large loss. The concept of free speech is let people talk, and let the ideas fight it out. If someone says something stupid, weak, untrue, profane, then people will reject it. It will fail in the contest of ideas, the marketplace of ideas if you prefer. Probably most Americans would reject the idea of calling Hillary a whore, so the idea would lose. The more people hear it, the more it loses. Randy would see the idea being rejected and would adapt her argument to make it more appealing. But this is not a free speech environment. It's an authoritarian environment. Randy said her bit in a nightclub setting. Someone caught her in a casual video. It would never have been heard by millions of people if it had not been for a video. Now the reaction is not that of a free society: "That's a lousy idea!" -- but that of a dictatorship: "Silence her!" It's a completely different message and atmosphere. Randy will rise again, though. Air America has given her hero status by their crackdown. Bye Bye Air America -- The US Establishment Media in a Nutshell Glenn Greenwald

    April 8, 2008

    Cornered Rat -- In "Karl in a Corner" at Harpers Scott Horton writes, "Note Rove’s thematic line: Simpson is 'a complete lunatic… a loon.' It apparently gets worse than this. In the original interview, as reported in at-Largely, Rove apparently made scurrilous insinuations about Simpson’s family life and her relationship with her children. GQ made the wise decision to strike them from the published text. But we should keep one fact in sharp focus: the allegations that Jill Simpson makes are all things that Rove has done, and been caught at, in innumerable other campaigns. They belong to his established modus operandi. And vehement denials are another part of the Rove rapid response pattern."

    -- David Cogswell

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